Thanks to tireless law enforcement efforts and safety campaigns, you are likely aware of the dangers of distracted driving. From cell phones to GPS devices, potential distractions bombard today’s drivers every time they get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, distracted driving has become a national epidemic and is responsible for thousands of deaths every year in Colorado and across the United States.
When you think of distracted driving, you may picture using a cell phone or texting while driving. However, distracted driving comes in many forms. Things like changing the radio station, talking with your passengers or eating while driving are just as dangerous as texting behind the wheel. Really, anything that takes your attention off the road is a form of distracted driving. Here are some ways to prevent distracted driving.
Prepare ahead of trips
In the excitement and anticipation of an upcoming road trip, it may be tempting to just jump in the driver’s seat and hit the road. However, preparing ahead of time can help you stay safe and avoid distracted driving. Before a trip, take time to plan your route and know where you are going so you won’t have to read a map or examine your GPS while on the road. If you need to review your route while on the road, always pull over to a safe spot.
Eat before driving
Make sure your stomach isn’t empty before hitting the road. Eating before you drive will not only help you stay energized, but it will also reduce the temptation to snack behind the wheel. Eating requires attention and can serve as a distraction when driving. If you’re driving for an extended period of time and need to eat, always stop or pull over.
Groom yourself before driving
It’s tempting to use time stuck in traffic or at a stop light to comb your hair or apply makeup, but the risk just is not worth it. Fixing your hair or makeup is a visual and cognitive distraction and will impair your ability to drive safely. Set your alarm a few minutes earlier and do your pre-work grooming routine before you leave your house.
Put your phone away
Using a cell phone behind the wheel is the most notable form of distracted driving and is extremely dangerous. Texting while driving is not only one of the riskiest things you can do, but it is also against the law in most states. Looking down at your phone for just a split second is enough time to cause a serious or fatal accident. Never text while driving. That text or phone call can wait.
Practice safe driving habits
When you are behind the wheel, commit fully to driving, and never attempt to multitask or do anything that takes your attention away from the road. If you need to complete a task, always pull over. Unfortunately, not all drivers will be as cautious or engaged as they should be behind the wheel. If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another party, there are options available to help.