Do you feel your life is more hectic than it was even just a few years ago? Maybe you’re eating fast food more often, constantly multi-tasking, cutting out activities you used to enjoy, and getting less sleep. If so, be warned! Sometimes the changes we make to cope with our busy lives come with negative consequences. Auto accidents are one of them.
There are three main types of driving distractions:
• Visual – taking your eyes off the road;
• Manual – taking your hands off the wheel; and
• Cognitive – taking your mind off the task of driving.
Driving distractions include:
• Talking on a cell phone or Smartphone;
• Eating fast food;
• Drinking your favorite beverage;
• Applying makeup:
• Using a GPS; and
• Changing the radio station, inserting a CD, or scrolling for music on your MP3 player.
If you’ve ever missed your turn, don’t remember turning onto your street, or reached your destination wondering where the time went, you were distracted. For many of us, driving is the most dangerous thing we do every day. So for your safety and the safety of those around you, it’s vital to pay close attention at all times when you’re behind the wheel.
Even small increases in your attentiveness can make a positive difference. Here are some ways to do that:
1. Turn off your phone when you get in the car.
2. Stop some place safe (and legal) to answer incoming calls and text messages, remembering many states have laws prohibiting texting while in your car.
3. Familiarize yourself with the equipment/features in your car. You should be able to turn on your wipers, heat, air conditioning, etc. without taking your eyes off the road. If you get a new car, park it and practice finding the equipment/features with your eyes closed.
4. Ask whoever is riding with you to make a call or answer a text on your behalf.
5. If you use a GPS, don’t try and enter an address or location coordinates while driving. Also make sure audio turn-by-turn directions are on and easy to hear.
6. If you receive upsetting news or had a difficult conversation prior to driving, let yourself regain your focus and composure.
7. Stop at a safe location to address back seat situations with your children. Never drive with your head in the back seat.
8. Don’t let your pets roam freely in your car. Make sure they are properly secured before you start driving.
9. Don’t drive if you’re tired. Make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep each night.
10. Don’t let your knees do the driving. Eat before you leave for your destination or stop at a safe place.
When choosing how to drive, remember your safety is important to your family, to your friends, and to West Bend!