While we’re all extraordinarily thankful for our GPS systems, new driving technologies and infotainment systems increase the likelihood of distraction while driving. The DMV estimates drivers are distracted by secondary activities about 30 percent of the time while driving. These behaviors can be dangerous. Here are a few ideas to limit distractions while driving.
This is an easy way to help the environment and have an in-car assistant to help with the things that might normally act as distractions. Changing the radio station, looking for an item in your bag, eating or even adjusting your mirrors can act as a potentially dangerous distractions. When you carpool, you can hand off your phone if an important call comes through, ask him or her to change the radio or navigate directions.
Limit Mobile Device Usage
If you are driving alone, make sure you have hands-free phone capability (in many states, this is legally required). Even when cell phone use isn’t a visual distraction, if you are using a hands-free device, it can still be a cognitive distraction. Ensure your chat isn’t impairing your ability to concentrate, and if it is, save it for later.
Texting and driving is always a no-no. Campaigns like “Don’t Text & Drive” and “It Can Wait” encourage drivers to pledge to refrain. Using your mobile device while driving isn’t just dangerous for the driver. It endangers the passengers in the car and all other cars on the road too.
If you ever catch yourself driving while exceptionally tired, this is the kind of distraction that can be more insidious. It’s actually incredibly dangerous to drive while tired.
The National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll estimated 60 percent of adult drivers have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third have actually fallen asleep at the wheel. Make sure if you start to feel sleepy while driving to pull over, stretch your legs, and perhaps get a drink with caffeine in it. If you are very fatigued, it might be in line to stop for the night.
Keep Your Glances Short
Of course, part of general driving safety is to scan your surroundings. But make sure you keep those glances short! Becoming distracted by scenery can be easy to do when scanning the road. Always bring your eyes back to the road swiftly.
You can’t always control external distractions, but you can set yourself up for distraction-free success inside your vehicle. Preset your radio stations, make a playlist and move your seat and mirrors, all before you hit the road.
Whether you need to renew your licence, or you’re simply looking to brush up, the Internet has many resources to review. Driving-Tests.org offers free practice tests for every state, including New Jersey.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute estimated that 80 percent of crashes involved a driver distraction of some kind. Be considerate and safe, for your sake, and everyone else on the road by cutting back not the number of potential distractions while driving.