Are you alarmed by the fact that 58% of people check their phones while driving?
According to research published just last year, a US study shows that over 70% of drivers are worried about other drivers using their phones, as it tops the polls for being the biggest distraction for those behind the wheel. This is in spite of the fact that people are mostly aware it is unlawful to do.
Add children or passengers into the mix, and it’s easy to see drivers are distracted and can easily lose their focus. We’ve written ten tips that will help you to stay alert and focused when you next drive your vehicle.
#1 – Do Not Look at your Phone While Driving
There was absolutely no doubt that this has to take the number one spot on the list. It doesn’t matter what reason you believe you need to keep your phone to hand while driving; you should not be looking at it; not even for a moment.
Keep it on silent, switch it to DND, and keep it out of sight.
Now, for those of you who need to use your phone for directions, you should have the volume turned up, and it should be affixed to a proper hands-free mount. If your phone bleeps, vibrates, rings, or alerts you by any other means, you either need to ignore it or pull over and look at it once you are parked safely out of the way of other road users, and your engine is switched off.
#2 – Plan a Driving Playlist
If, like so many of us, you enjoy nothing more than listening to your favorite tunes while driving, then put together a playlist before you leave. Second, to a mobile phone, playing around with audio is another major source of distraction while driving. It doesn’t matter whether you listen to audiobooks, podcasts, or regular music – try to sort this out before you set off on your journey to avoid losing any focus while behind the wheel.
#3 – Review your Route
If you’re going to the same place, every day or week, this might be such an issue. However, if you are taking a long journey or going somewhere new, take a look at your route planner before you leave. Give yourself a sense of direction and double-check there aren’t any major road closures that could impact your trip.
If you start to look up a divert or directions while in transit, this can serve as just as big of a distraction as texting or playing around with your music.
#4 – Being Stationary
If you stop at traffic signals, a stop sign, or you’re sitting in traffic, then this does not mean you have carte-blanche to check your phone, lean into the glove compartment to find a CD, or anything else. These signs or the surrounding road conditions can change at any time. New hazards could present, whether this is in the form of pedestrians or other vehicles, you must stay alert and focus on the road and the things around you at all times.
#5 – Pets and People
Whether you’re a student with friends in the car, a busy parent with kids, a professional with peers or clients, or just on a day trip with your pet pooch, you need to control the additional distractions they will inevitably cause. Make sure they are safely buckled into their seats, and in the event of having a pet, ensure they are always in the back of the vehicle; if anything arises and they demand your attention, you need to be in complete control of your vehicle and avoid any temptation to take your focus off the road.
If there are a problem and your child, pet, colleague, or friend urgently needs your attention, then stop the vehicle in a safe place, switch off the ignition, and only then can you turn your attention towards their demands.
#6 – Mirrors
In a vehicle, your mirrors are a critical safety feature that enables you to drive safely while knowing what is around your car at all times. If you didn’t have time to apply your make-up and fix your hair at home, you must not attempt to do so while you are driving.
Similarly, if you have kids in the car, a mirror is not to be used for keeping an eye on what they’re up to. As soon as you tilt your internal mirror to your passengers, you create an extra source of distraction, and you also remove key safety features that help you drive and keeps you informed of what is going on around your vehicle.
This is something that is often easily overlooked but should not be ignored.
As challenging as this might all sound, these six steps will help you focus better while driving and will collectively reduce your exposure to additional unnecessary risks. While it’s certainly true that smartphones are great for keeping us connected at all times, road safety relies on people doing the right thing where your mobiles are concerned. Aside from this, there are plenty of other things that can momentarily turn your attention away from the road, and it is these things that must be avoided at all costs.
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