We all know that staying focused while driving is important, but we also get distracted now and again. It happens to the best of us. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so we thought we would take this opportunity to discuss some common factors that cause distracted driving. Understanding the causes of this issue can help you prevent it. Here, I will discuss three of the most common causes of distracted driving – cell phones, passengers in the car, and kids in the car.
Cell phones are one of the biggest causes of distracted driving. We know that it isn’t safe, but checking our phones while driving is so easy. Using your phone to look up directions, change the song that’s playing in the car, or send a quick text is so tempting. But, it can also be dangerous. Even if you just look down at your phone for a few seconds, this can be enough time to cause an accident. And even if an accident doesn’t happen and you have things under control, you can still get pulled over by the police and be issued a texting while driving ticket.
Here are a few tips to avoid using your cell phone while driving:
- Put your cell phone in your glove compartment or turn it off when you get into the car. Out of sight, out of mind!
- Download an app on your phone that doesn’t let you use it while you are driving.
- Text friends/family before getting in the car letting them know that you will be driving and unable to reach them until you arrive at your destination.
- Use hands free apps/devices to text, call, and utilize directions from your phone.
- Use your car’s infotainment system, if it has one, for phone related tasks.
- Ask a passenger in your car to hold your phone and give you directions/answer texts on your behalf.
Passengers in your car can be very distracting. This is why Connecticut has imposed a driving restriction on teenagers that limits the passengers that they can have in the car. While passengers might not mean to be distracting, just talking to someone else in the car can cause problems while driving. Here are some tips to avoid passenger distractions:
- Avoid arguing with the passengers in your car.
- Don’t drive with people who are particularly distracting or encourage risky behavior such as speeding, street racing, etc.
- Ask passengers to refrain from distracting behavior such as smoking, eating, drinking, dancing, putting their feet on your dashboard, etc.
- Use passengers to your advantage and have them help you with directions and engage in safe driving behavior.
Children are a particularly distracting type of passenger in your car. Kids can be particularly noisy, whether they are crying, arguing with a sibling, or asking you questions while you are trying to concentrate on the road. It can be difficult for kids to understand that what they are doing is distracting and ultimately dangerous for you as a driver. If you need to drive with kids in your car, follow these tips:
- Make sure the children are engaging in safe behavior, such as sitting in the backseat and using a car seat or seatbelt.
- Drive with another passenger who can sit with the kids, answer their questions, and make sure they behave.
- Distract your kids with music or tv so that they are not distracting you by talking!
- If your child needs something, pull over to the side of the road or have them wait until you reach your destination. Don’t go rooting around for their water bottle or turn back to speak with them.
These are just a few ways to avoid distracted driving while you are on the road. If you are facing a motor vehicle issue, you can contact us. We are happy to help.