Minimizing distractions while on the road is important for all drivers, but especially for disabled drivers. Avoiding or minimizing distractions is one of the best ways to stay safe while driving. We know why distracted driving is dangerous: road accidents are much more likely to occur when the driver of a vehicle isn’t concentrating fully. While some distractions are inevitable – constant traffic in a large city, or pedestrians crossing the road, for example – many are under our control.
Learning how to change our behavior to ensure we are safer drivers is the best way to prevent becoming distracted. Often, disabled drivers have pre-existing challenges that can make driving difficult, and distractions should not be another thing they have to worry about. The guide below contains some helpful advice on how to minimize distractions as a disabled driver.
1. Avoid using your phone
The use of phones while driving is extremely dangerous. In fact, texting is often considered the cause of more road accidents than driving while drunk. Cellphones are notoriously distracting, so it’s best to put your phone on silent while driving, or to turn it off.
Alternatively, it may be worth investing in a hands-free set for your car, which enables you take calls safely. However, if you are likely to be distracted by phone conversations, it’s best to avoid using your phone at all while on the road. If you need to make a call, pull over in a safe place to do so. This is safer for you and everyone around you.
2. Know your route
You will be much more comfortable on the road if you know your route well. Ensure you do the necessary research before you begin your drive, so that you don’t constantly need to reference a map or use your cellphone.
While you plan your route, pay attention to possible hazards and know which sections are likely to be busier, so you can ensure you are alert and focused when you come to these areas. Knowledge is power, as they say, and mapping out your route beforehand can be hugely beneficial for minimizing distractions.
3. Don’t use mirrors for grooming
The mirrors in your car are there to let you safely identify potential hazards around you. They should not be used for grooming while driving, even though it can be tempting! Don’t look into your mirrors for longer than necessary, as this can distract you from your surroundings and can be very dangerous.
4. Know your vehicle well
Ensuring that you’re comfortable in your vehicle and know its functions and controls well is essential for avoiding distracted driving. If you have an adapted vehicle, make sure you are used to it before taking it on long drives.
If you feel like you need some help getting used to a newly adapted vehicle, many driving schools offer lessons to help with this. Refresher courses can be very helpful in increasing confidence while driving, which in turn can help to avoid distractions and ensure you’re driving as calmly and safely as possible.
5. Don’t eat on the road
Eating on the road can be very distracting (and messy!). If you’re hungry, make sure you pull over at a rest stop and eat while you’re off the road. This is much safer than tucking into a snack or some food while driving. Plus, it gives you time to stretch your limbs, get some fresh air, and take a mental break before getting back on the road.
6. Take frequent breaks and rest well
It’s particularly important to avoid driving when fatigued or drowsy, as this is when many accidents occur. Make sure you begin long drives when you’re well rested, and take frequent breaks (at least every two hours). It’s much easier to get distracted when you’re already tired. Breaks help you regain your focus so you can continue your journey safely and free from distraction.
There are many solutions for distracted driving. By eliminating common distractions such as cellphones and food, and knowing your vehicle and your route well, you will find it much easier to stay focused on the road. But how can you make sure that you decrease your chance of being involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver?
While you can’t control how other people drive, if you notice that someone is driving erratically, or if you see someone on their phone or not looking at the road, make sure you keep a safe distance from their vehicle. If you think someone’s distracted driving is making the road extremely dangerous for everyone else and may cause an accident, you may need to contact the local police force to inform them.
By following the above tips yourself, you are sure to drive safely and free from distraction.