Distractions are always trying to pull your attention away from the task at hand. What may be merely frustrating when you want to focus on composing an email can be particularly dangerous while you operate a motor vehicle in heavy traffic.
Distractions are a major contributing factor to many crashes that would otherwise be preventable. Learning more about the most common forms of distraction can help you avoid falling victim to them during your daily commute.
Turn off your ringer, and put your phone out of reach
If there’s one form of distraction that almost everyone recognizes is dangerous, it is using a cellphone while at the wheel. Whether you want to dial someone’s number or you attempt to send a text message or post to social media, using a mobile device while driving splits your mental focus while also taking your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel.
Conversations in the car should never be your first priority
Having company on a long trip can make the drive seem shorter, but you should never let the conversation with your passenger distract you from focusing on the road. Getting into intense discussions or arguments with other people in the vehicle or a person on the other end of a phone call could drastically increase your risk of getting into a crash.
Grooming and eating should happen before you get in the vehicle
Some people try to increase the amount of time they have to sleep before going to work by doing some of their preparation for their workday at the wheel of a car. You shouldn’t change your clothes, brush your hair or teeth, or apply makeup while driving a motor vehicle.
Make sure everything in the vehicle is properly secured
Unexpected noises or motion can be a major distraction to you on the road. Making sure that nothing in your vehicle could go flying loose if you have to execute a tight turn is a wise decision. From placing drinks in appropriately-sized holders to restraining or crating pets before you let them in your vehicle, there are many steps you can take to avoid the distraction of moving objects that you feel the need to restrain or secure while driving.
Pull over if you need to
Perhaps the single smartest thing that you can do as a driver is commit yourself to stopping your vehicle temporarily if there is something that demands your attention. Whether you get into a heated discussion with a passenger or hear the notification for an email you absolutely need to respond to, pulling off to the side of the road or into a parking lot will be infinitely safer than continuing to drive.
Avoiding distractions yourself is only half the battle. You will still face risks generated by other drivers who don’t take similar precautions. Thankfully, you will have the option of pursuing civil action to gain compensation from a distracted driver who injures you or damages your property.