In the US, distracted driving contributes to nearly 50% of all car accidents reported each year. It only takes a second for a distracted driver to take his/her eyes away from the road and collide with another vehicle, motorcycle, or even a pedestrian. Since some drivers are reluctant to admit fault, many traffic experts ascertain that this statistic is grossly underreported. Distracted driving accidents can often be serious and cause permanent injuries or death.
Being a safe driver can be as easy as implementing a few simple defensive driving behaviors until they become second nature. Every driver can take a few simple active steps to help reduce distracted driving accidents on the road.
Tips to help you Play your Part in Reducing Driving Distractions
- Put Down the Smartphones: Refrain from using your phone for reasons like texting, talking, emailing or browsing the internet while driving. Even while using a hands-free device, limit conversations or only talk if the call is very important. Research has shown that focus on a conversation can still pull a driver’s attention away from the road. Alternately, simply turn off your phone before you drive so you won’t be tempted to use it while on the road. Always pull over to a safe place to use your phone.
- Avoid Losing Focus and Prevent Driver Fatigue: Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night and don’t drive if you’re sleep deprived. Work on keeping your attention on the road ahead and avoid thinking ahead or worrying about plans while driving. On long drives, make it a point to take breaks to rest your eyes.
- Make Passengers Part of a Buddy System: An adult passenger riding along with you can help with awareness of your surroundings and broaden your ability to watch the road. An active, responsible passenger can actually reduce the risk of a traffic accident according to the National Safety Council. It’s important to ask a passenger to help you with activities that may be distracting.
- Implement Better Time Management and Plan Ahead: Rushing tends to cause driver distraction, aggressive driving, and taking unnecessary risks behind the wheel. Whenever possible, leave a few minutes early so you can arrive at your destination stress-free. Get ready for work before getting in your car. Fixing your hair, applying makeup or tying a necktie are much safer when they’re done at home.
- Exercise Discipline over Roadside Distractions: If you happen to pass by a disabled vehicle or an accident scene, keep your eyes focused ahead. Refrain from glancing over to get a look at the scene, especially while your vehicle is in motion. The same goes for flashy roadside sign-spinners or other extraordinary tactics designed to grab the attention of passing motorists. It only takes a split second of distraction to create your own accident scene.