As distracted driving and related fatalities increase, many are calling the dangerous driving behavior the new drunk driving. Though distracted driving doesn’t cause as many traffic fatalities as drunk driving does, it has resulted in over 3,000 traffic deaths each year since 2010, according to Distraction.gov. Just like drunk driving-related fatalities, distracted driving-related fatalities are preventable.
At a time when technology is at its peak and life is more fast-paced than ever, it’s easy to get distracted when you’re behind the wheel. While you can’t control the actions of other drivers or what happens around your vehicle, you can still help prevent distracted driving-related fatalities by avoiding distractions within your car. As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we’ve compiled a few tips on how to avoid driving distractions:
- Silence and/or put away your cell phone before you start driving to avoid the temptation of answering a phone call or responding to a text or email. Only use your phone in an emergency and, if possible, pull off to the side of the road to use it.
- Adjust your mirrors, seats, AC, stereo, GPS, and other controls before you hit the road.
- Make sure children and pets are secure before you start driving. If they need your attention, pull off to the side of the road rather than reaching into the back seat while driving. This also goes for any other activity that requires your attention.
- Take care of any other potential driving distractions before you pull out of the driveway or parking space.
- Give yourself extra time to get ready in the morning so that you don’t find yourself grooming in the car.
- Stay alert, keep your eyes on the road, and focus on driving, including scanning the road, using your mirrors, and watching for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Keep you car free of clutter and secure loose items so that you aren’t distracted by items rolling around on the floor or seats.
- Avoid beverages in the car, especially hot beverages, and eat before or after you drive. If you must eat on the road, opt for easy-to-eat snacks, such as granola bars, over messy snacks and full meals.