Driving is one of the activities that need a high level of concentration due to the many dangers associated with it.
As a driver, it is important to know these dangers and how to avoid them. A mistake or carelessness can lead to serious damage and even loss of lives. This is why it is important for all drivers to be abreast of road-associated dangers.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity carried out while you should be focused behind the wheel. This means taking your eyes or mind off the road thereby compromising not only your safety but also that of passengers and other road users.
There are three main types of distraction:
Visual: taking your eyes off the road
Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
Causes of Distracted Driving
Driving has lots of distractions, but the most common ones that can cause fatal accidents are:
- Daydreaming or losing your thoughts while driving
- Using a cell phone
- Looking at something outside the vehicle
- Activities of passengers
- Going for an item on the dashboard, seat, or car floor
- Eating, drinking, or smoking
- Changing the radio station, adjusting climate control, or making use of a device in the car
- Pets, insects, and objects moving inside the vehicle
As this list shows, almost all driving distractions are under the control of the driver and also avoidable.
How to Avoid Being Distracted While Driving
Whenever you are driving, focus your attention on the road and your car. The following tips can help:
- The major cause of distracted driving fatalities is a driver’s mind straying, for a long time, enough to lead to a collision. While driving, ensure your mind is not wandering. Repel any distractions or thoughts that might take your mind off driving.
- Don’t use your phone while driving. If you receive a call while driving, pull over and answer it.
- Ask passengers to keep their seat belts on at all times and ask for their cooperation in helping you keep your attention on driving.
- Adjust climate controls, radio, and other infotainment systems before you start driving. You can also pull over to make any necessary adjustments, or ask a front-seat passenger to assist.
- Pull over if you need something from the floor, dashboard, glove compartment, or another part of the car.
- Do not drive when you are upset, super excited, or have other strong emotions or physical symptoms which could interfere with your concentration.
- Don’t engage in sightseeing while you drive. If you want to look around, stop your car in a safe place.
- Transport your pets in pet carriers or have them secured in the rear of your vehicle. Make sure objects inside the vehicle are secured so they do not roll around and distract you.
As we’ve seen, the most common factor in every distracted driving accident is drivers paying attention to something other than driving.
Besides, some drivers, especially the ones with many years of experience, feel too confident. They feel they can take their eyes and mind off the road. Don’t be that driver. Overconfidence can make you ignore the causes of distracted driving and this will do you no good.
Follow the above tips to avoid distracted driving and reduce your risk of having an accident.