Driving is one of the most dangerous things that we do on a daily basis. It can become so second nature to us though, that it’s easy to begin to multi-tasking when behind the wheel. Distracted driving is driving while doing another activity that takes away your attention from the road. This bad—yet common—habit significantly increases your chance of a car crash; distracted driving took 3,477 lives in 2015 alone. Keep yourself, and others, safe on the road by learning the different types of driving distractions and to avoid them.
Types of Distracted Driving
A manual distraction is anything that causes you to take one or both hands off of the wheel. Checking a text message is a common example. Other activities include eating and drinking, adjusting your child’s seatbelt, searching through your purse or wallet or turning knobs in your car.
A visual distraction is something that causes your eyes to wander off the road. Using your phone, checking your GPS and changing the radio station are ways that you may become visually distracted.
Cognitive distractions are those that take your mind’s focus away from your driving. Road rage, daydreaming or being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol are ways that you may lose focus.
Tips for Avoiding Driving Distractions
There are many practical ways that you can break these dangerous habits and improve your likelihood of staying safe on the road:
- Avoid use of handheld devices, like your cell phone
- Keep your phone out of reach
- Put phone in Do Not Disturb mode
- Create an in-car playlist so you don’t have to adjust your music
- Adjust your seat, mirror and climate control before driving
- Finish all personal grooming before getting into the car
- Pull over to read directions
- Keep your emotions in check
- Focus on the road
- Eat before or after traveling
Find the solutions that work best to fight your behind-the-wheel distractions and you’ll be on your way to a safer lifestyle.