Have you ever closed your eyes for a few seconds while driving? Probably not, right? That would be needlessly dangerous for you and everyone else on the road. However, most drivers are guilty are glancing at their phones while driving, adjusting the radio or eating a meal behind the wheel. While they may seem harmless on the surface, all of these activities are examples of distracted driving.
According to the CDC, any non-driving activity that you engage in while driving is a potential distraction and increases your risk of getting into an accident. Alarmingly, taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.
Regardless of your driving experience, the reality is that it’s impossible to drive safely unless the task of driving is your sole focus. When you drive every day, it’s easy to forget that car accidents are an unfortunately common possibility. In the U.S. alone, distracted driving kills nine people every day.
Four things you can do
Driving distracted puts everyone on the road at risk. To stay safe behind the wheel, these four strategies will make it easier to avoid risky distractions while driving:
- Limit your phone use while driving. Finish sending any texts, setting up your GPS or adjusting your music before you start your trip. Using hands-free technology can also be distracting and increase your risk of getting in a crash, so it’s best to limit your use of all technology behind the wheel.
- Avoid other common driving distractions. Any multitasking while driving can put you and your passengers in danger. Avoid eating and drinking, looking for items while driving, looking at yourself in your mirrors and any activity that takes your eyes off the road.
- Keep your passengers safe. It might surprise you to discover that even having passengers in your car can be a significant distraction for drivers. Be sure to keep the conversation light while driving and save your serious discussions or big news for another time.
- Pull over if you need to. If you find yourself needing to respond to a call or text, adjust any of your controls or tend to a child or pet in the backseat, remember that the safest option is to pull over to do so. Just make sure you find a safe spot to park that doesn’t block traffic.
Don’t let common distractions on the road put the lives of you and your passengers at risk. By staying distraction-free in your vehicle, you can ensure you always get to your destination safely.