We are pleased to present the article below by guest blogger Alicia Lawrence:
Rule the Road: 5 Ways to Break the Habit of Distracted Driving
We all know that driving while distracted is not just a bad way to get somewhere – it can be deadly. According to the Canadian Automobile Association, distracted drivers are responsible for 4 million accidents in North America every year.
Operating a vehicle allows you the freedom to go anywhere you want, when you want, but arriving at your destination safely should always be the ultimate goal.
But you get a million texts, tweets, and other info from your phone. And drive-thru restaurants are everywhere on the road. How do you block out the noise and just enjoy driving?
Here are 5 key tips to keep your head in the game and break any unsafe habits.
1. Turn Off the Phone
Okay, this may seem like something you’d never want to do, but you can easily turn off the audio notifications of social media like Twitter, Facebook, email and other apps and services.
Just set your phone to airplane mode or at least to vibrate. Then ignore it! Nothing’s more important than safe driving.
Studies show that the biggest distractions while driving are from your electronic devices, and it’s so easy to fix this problem. You can always pick up your messages in a few seconds when you’re at your destination.
If you absolutely have to answer a call or text, you must pull over to the side of the road. Just park the car and then talk. It takes only seconds but can make the difference between being safe and causing a terrible accident.
2. Be an Expert Driver
This means knowing where you’re going so you don’t have to look up directions. Great drivers anticipate problems ahead of time and look for alternate routes or safer spots to stop and park.
Expert drivers also take care of themselves. Get enough sleep or, if you’re too tired to drive, pull off the road into a safe area for a nap. Controlling your vehicle is difficult when you can barely keep your eyes open. Studies have reported that in the United States, 37% of drivers have actually fallen asleep or ”spaced out” on the road.
Cognitive specialists say that being tired is similar to driving drunk — you can’t control your brain or reactions. So avoid getting into the driver’s seat if you haven’t had enough sleep.
3. Speaking of Driving Impaired, Don’t Do It
In the United States, drunk or impaired driving is responsible for 30 accidents every single day. That’s more than one accident each and every hour of the day.
If you are concerned about a friend’s drinking or if you think you have a problem abusing substances, check out a treatment facility. Top rehab centers can be found in every state — it’s up to you to take care of yourself before you hurt someone around you.
Blasting your music can be super fun at home, where you can dance and you don’t have to pay attention. But studies show that music, especially loud music, is a huge distraction to otherwise good drivers.
All you have to do is lower the volume on your car stereo and you will instantly be safer on the road. This goes double if you are chauffeuring your friends. Make sure your passengers are quiet, cool and behave well. You don’t need them ruining your stellar driving record.
5. Involve Your Friends
Become a leader in your friend group by being loud and proud of your safe driving record. Keep your hands on the wheel at all times and don’t crowd your car with too many passengers.
People always listen to confident, skilled drivers, so become one! Remove distractions from the car, don’t eat or put on makeup, and show your friends that you are excellent at keeping your eyes on the road. Soon everyone will want to follow your lead.Alicia Lawrence