How to avoid getting distracted while driving

July 7, 2014 12:00 AM

Distracted driving is dangerous habit that almost everyone is guilty of doing at one point or another in their driving career. At times, many drivers don't even realize that they are doing it. Any time your full attention is not on the road, you are distracted. This can be caused by everything from noisy children in the backseat, to the ringing of a phone, to an interesting roadside occurrence. As human beings, it's normal for us to react to things going on around us, but this summer follow these tips to keep safe while driving:

Don't text and drive
In today's world of technology, it's hard for many of us to peel our faces away from our devices, but it is very important to put your phone away while driving. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving there is.

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, "five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded." If that doesn't put things into perspective, the agency also reported that 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving during any point during the day.

Instead of texting while driving, finish your conversations before you leave for your car trip. Let the person you are talking to know that you are about to get in the car and that you'll text them when you reach your destination. If you are meeting someone, let them know about what time you plan on arriving. By doing this, you're less likely to receive texts while you are driving and will be less tempted to answer them.

Avoid being distracted by passengers
Whether your best friends or your children are clamoring for attention, focusing too much on passengers can take your attention off the road. When driving with children in the backseat, make sure they are secure in their car seats and have a talk with them before you head off about car behavior. If you have to talk to your children or help care for them while driving, pull over in a safe location first. 

Having friends in the car can be a blast, but you can't focus too much on them. Being the driver isn't always fun, but don't let an emotional conversation or backseat drivers take your attention from the road. If need be, ask your passengers if the conversation can continue when you reach your destination.

Don't multi-task in the car
Driving is not the time for you to be doing anything else. Some drivers try to squeeze in tasks that they have to accomplish while at a red light or sitting in traffic. Your morning commute is not meant for you to do things you didn't have time for before leaving for work, such as eating breakfast, shaving or doing your makeup. 

Another source of distraction can be the radio. Listening to music too loudly or quickly flipping between channels takes your eyes off the road. You might find yourself paying more attention to what song you're listening to than what is going on around you.

Get your regular car tune up
Regular vehicle maintenance is an important part of car safety. While driving, the last thing you want to see is your check engine light come on. That would certainly be a distraction.

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