Over the past years, thousands of people have lost their lives in road accidents and related events. Distraction driving is engaging in any activity that takes the mind of the driver off driving, or the eyes off the road, or the hands off the wheel. These activities derail the driver off the main task of driving safely. Data from law enforcement officers across different states is devastating, and we hope after reading this, drivers would avoid these high-risk behaviors that increase the chances of being involved in fatal accidents.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 21 states had already passed laws that are related to autonomous vehicles. This is to assist with the daily distractions on the roads that result in accidents. Drivers are always tempted by devices such as mobile phones and other known common distractions that take the minds and eyes off the road while driving. Each year, the government put in place new laws against distracted driving. These laws are meant to scare people into safer driving practices.
It is human to try and get just a sip of coffee when, really, that is all it takes to be involved in a serious head-on collision. It is essential that we understand that the current modern life has a lot of distractions, of which none of it is important enough to risk injuring ourselves or even causing death to our passengers, pedestrian or any other travelers using the public roadway. However, there are technologies coming up to counter such distraction-related issues. A computer which will be placed in control and letting the driver perform minimal tasks along the way.
Top Distractions While Driving and How to Avoid Them
1. ADJUSTING CLIMATE CONTROL
Using the control panel on the dashboard might seem harmless. However, when you reach over to deal with the controls, your attention is briefly taken from the task at hand – safe diving. Taking the hand off the wheel so as to adjust the control puts the driver at risk since there’s less control over the wheel.
How to Avoid This Distraction:
If there is a co-driver seated next, do not hesitate to ask them for help with heating or air conditioning. Moreover, some modern cars have controls placed on the steering that allows the driver to adjust air conditioning and heating. These controls reduce the risk of taking the driver’s attention off the road.
2. DRINKING WHILE DRIVING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO ALCOHOL
Water can be as deadly as alcohol. If the driver is drinking while driving, just by taking that one sip of water means letting the wheels go, tilting the head back, or unscrewing the bottle cap. All these are distractions that are dangerous when behind the wheel.
If you have a long journey ahead, it is important you take controls such as: drinking enough fluid before you hit the road, do not consume sugary stuff, chew gum or hard candy, or make several stops to hydrate yourself.
3. HAVING YOUR EARBUDS IN
It is not a good idea to use earbuds while driving. They take the mind off the road! It disrupts one’s hearing and you might miss the hooting coming from a train, or may be a siren of an ambulance or another vehicle on the road trying to get your attention.
Use USB ports or wireless technology to connect to your stereo. Connect your phone or other devices and listen to music from there.
4. GROOMING YOURSELF WHILE DRIVING
Staring at the rear view mirror just to put on makeup or fix your hair is an accident waiting to happen. This activity totally distracts the driver and should be avoided as much as possible.
If you did not do enough preparation by the time you are leaving the house, go ahead and carry some essentials in the car. However, make sure to use them once you’ve reached your destination. Sit and resist temptation!
5. PETS IN THE CAR
Dogs are known for being notorious for distracting passengers. They run everywhere, climbing from the front seat to the back seat, or even jump on the driver. In Hawaii, it was passed that dogs cannot ride on driver’s lap.
There pet car seats being sold in pet stores. No matter how lovely and furry your dog is, you both survive for few hours and be a safe driver.
6. TALKING ON THE PHONE
In most of the state, it is unlawful to hold a mobile phone while driving. This does not mean that it is safe to have a conversation on a hands-free device. Giving little attention to the phone implies that less attention is paid on the road. It is worth noting that this is one of the most dangerous practices.
A lot of cell phones have the “do not disturb” setting. Turn this feature on before driving, or simply have a principal of ignoring any calls or text messages – it will earn you a life!
Bonus Tip: Bad Weather
During times of bad weather, it is important to ensure there are no distractions around, so that you can focus on the road. Find out more about bad weather driving tips.