We’ve all heard about distracted driving studies and listened to warnings issued from the NHTSA, National Safety Council, and a slew of car insurance companies. Distracted driving is responsible for millions of auto accidents and thousands of deaths per year. So why don’t we just stop, put down our phones, and focus on the road?
The fight against distracted driving is bigger than statistics and public service announcements. We all need to pitch in. Here are five ways to help stop distracted driving.
#1 Be an Example: It sounds easy, but in today’s digitally connected world this is very difficult for many. If you want your friends and loved ones to stop using their mobile phones and indulging other dangerous habits behind the wheel, the change starts with you. Make sure while driving that your phone is silenced and stored in a place where you won’t be tempted to check it, even if you have to store the phone in a closed compartment. Your friends might think you’re nuts, but your devotion to their safety and focus on the road will wear off on them!
#2 Insist on Safety: You might have to endure some eye rolls and heavy sighing, but it is worth it. Every time you get in the car as a passenger, encourage others, especially the driver, to silence their phones. We don’t want to cost you any friends, but insisting that the driver silences his or her phone is pretty important. You could also volunteer to drive, which will continue to reinforce your good example to the people around you and help alleviate some eye rolling.
#3 Slow Your Roll: We all know driving too fast is dangerous, but these days, we are in such a rush that we forget to “get ready” before we drive off down the Turnpike. Before you put the car in drive, make sure you are prepped for trip. Set your GPS destination, find your favorite radio station, finish eating, and finalize those last minute grooming needs all before you begin rolling. A little preparation can go a long way toward saving a life.
#4 Know Your Distractions: There is no doubt about it, some of us are more easily distracted than others, and we each have unique trigger points for distraction. Knowing and understanding what gets you easily distracted can help you avoid those situations, including too many friends in the car, the urge to eat hot french fries from the take-out order (next time put the order in the trunk), or your dog panting in the backseat. Keeping yourself out of these situations before they start will keep you and your passengers safe.
#5 Make Driving Your Quiet Time: Need a little quiet in your life? Consider making your commute your quiet time. Turn off the radio, power down your phone, and don’t be afraid to tell your passengers to zip it.