When you get behind the wheel, it can often seem like you’re driving in autopilot. Drivers are even known to experience highway hypnosis or the phenomenon of driving a distance without any recollection of having done so. But while driving may feel second nature to you, the reality is it requires your full attention and focus no matter how many years you’ve been a driver.
When you think of distracted driving, it’s likely that texting or talking on the phone while driving comes to mind. While these are common distractions behind the wheel, distracted driving encompasses a wide range of tasks that shouldn’t be attempted while operating a vehicle. Eating, talking to passengers, fiddling with the GPS or petting a dog in the backseat are also dangerous distractions.
Many people frequently multitask while driving without ever facing any consequences, but the fact of the matter is driving distracted puts everyone at risk on the road. In the U.S. alone, distracted driving claims the lives of nine people per day.
Are you driving distracted?
According to The Gazette, if you can identify with any of the following statements, you are guilty of driving distracted:
- You keep your phone on the passenger seat or in your cupholder while driving.
- You eat while driving.
- You talk on your phone while driving.
- You adjust your GPS or music while you drive.
- You use a hands-free in-dash system.
- You often daydream or think about your life while driving.
- You regularly attend to young children or pets in the backseat while driving.
- You enjoy having a lot of passengers in your car.
- You are known to adjust your hair or makeup while driving.
How to stop driving distracted
To fight the urge to succumb to distractions on the road, try to take care of any necessary tasks before your trip. Set up your GPS or playlist while you are still parked and eat meals before you leave. Put your phone on silent and locate objects you need like sunglasses, so you don’t have to let go of the wheel later on. With a little preparation, you can reduce your distractions on the road and ensure you safely get to your destination.