According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,166 people were killed in car crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017 alone. Although texting while driving creates enormous potential for accidents, distracted driving involves any activity that diverts your attention from driving safely. This includes talking, eating, grooming and fiddling with your navigation system or radio, just to name a few. These tips can help you to make safe driving a priority:
Limit your number of passengers.
The more activity inside your vehicle, the more distracted you’ll be. Ask your travel companions to keep the noise to a minimum and enlist their help with working the navigation system, choosing a radio station, checking on traffic, etc.
Turn off your phone or activate the “Do Not Disturb” function.
Never use your cell phone while driving. If you have an emergency situation, safely pull off the road before making a call or sending a text. Talking while using a hands-free device can still cause you to miss important signals, which can lead to an accident.
Don’t eat and drive.
Eating fast food during a road trip or finishing your breakfast on the way to work may seem like smart ways to save time, but eating while driving is a major distraction. Listening to your children argue over who has more French fries or spilling your beverage are surefire ways to divert your attention from the road. Enforcing a no-eating policy in your car will make meals more enjoyable while keeping your car free from crumbs and spills.
Never drive while drowsy.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleepiness and drinking alcohol have similar effects on your body, which can cause dangerous consequences. Sleep deprivation, untreated sleep disorders, certain medications, doing shiftwork and consuming alcohol can all cause drowsy driving. If you find you have heavy eyelids, constant yawning, trouble focusing, drifting off the road or memory lapses while driving, pull over if you can safely take a 20-minute nap, buy a cup of coffee or order a rideshare to help you Get Home Safe®.
Keep teens informed.
Because teen drivers have less experience behind the wheel, they have the highest accident and fatality rates of any age group. If you’re the parent of a teen driver, keep them informed of the consequences of distracted driving and enforce a strict zero-tolerance policy. Set a good example when you drive and spend time practicing driving with them. For more tips for teen drivers, click here.
Remember that safe driving requires your full attention on the road 100% of the time. Stay focused and keep your loved ones safe by spreading the word to help stop distracted driving.