Distractions are still a problem when driving

March 19, 2015 08:49 AM

Prioritizing safety on the roads is one effort that never goes out of style. Unfortunately, some drivers don't see it that way. It's not uncommon for people to engage in dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, whether they're responding to a text message, browsing social media or using GPS to navigate to a certain location. Distractions are a real threat to everyone on the roads, and they don't seem to be going away any time soon. 

People still text behind the wheel
According to a recent study from the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc., texting and driving remains a problem for many motorists in the U.S. The survey found that, although 87 percent of people believe texting and driving is unsafe, about 18 percent consistently engage in the practice. 

Millennials were more likely to text and drive than their counterparts. They were also less likely to admit that the behavior is dangerous, which was particularly strange to the researchers. About 81 percent of this age group stated that sending or checking messages was a poor decision, compared to 95 percent of people over the age of 55, according to the study. 

"Large majorities recognize the dangers of texting while driving, but we found disturbing differences in actual behavior based on age," said Jeffrey I. Cole, director of the Annenberg Center. "What's unsettling is that the youngest group reported the lowest level of agreement that using online technology while driving is dangerous, even though they are most likely to have been recently taught about these issues in safety courses or driver education."

Ways to avoid distractions
Drivers of all ages should learn how to stay away from distractions when driving. AAA recommended starting by placing all possessions in their proper place before pulling out onto the roads. This means hooking up navigation devices, setting up music players and securing any luggage. At the same time, make sure you're setting climate controls, as well as getting mirrors and seats in the right position. A few minutes of work in a parked car will help you avoid tinkering with these settings while driving. 

Similarly, GEICO suggested drivers analyze their own behaviors to find out what they can improve. Knowing when your focus is slipping due to drowsiness, for instance, will allow you to make any necessary adjustments that improve safety. Younger drivers should also know how to limit the number of passengers they are chauffeuring around, while people of all ages should take a look at their schedules to determine how they can avoid multitasking behind the wheel. 

Be knowledgeable about car health 
In the event you find yourself in a sticky situation, it can be a major help to know a few things about vehicle maintenance. Being able to quickly diagnose what is wrong with a car can enable a driver to make smart decisions about safety and repairs. Even something as simple as learning how to change tires can prove to be a major advantage, as it saves time and money. 

However, motorists shouldn't push themselves to fix a problem they have no knowledge of. Going to an auto repair franchise and receiving help from professional technicians is the best method for ensuring a long life for any car. Not only is this the best way to save money - as it increases the odds of avoiding major, expensive problems - but it can improve the overall driving experience. You won't have to worry about checking messages or sending emails when you're completely focused on the road ahead. 

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