Do you sometimes find yourself getting distracted easily while you drive? If so, you aren’t alone! Many drivers, including those who are disabled, struggle with focusing while driving – especially on longer journeys. However, staying alert and preventing distracted driving is very important, as distraction is a major cause of road accidents in the US. We’ve put together some tips on staying alert behind the wheel – for more information the dangers of distracted driving, and how to avoid distraction while driving, read on!

What are the dangers of distracted driving?

Distracted driving is dangerous for many reasons. First of all, distracted drivers aren’t fully concentrating on the road, and for this reason, they may not react as quickly to obstacles or anything unexpected. They may be more likely to be involved in a motor accident for this reason.

Secondly, distracted drivers may take risks. If they are thinking about the fact they need to get somewhere ASAP (perhaps they’re late for a meeting or appointment), they may be more likely to overtake other vehicles, to drive more quickly than usual, or to otherwise attempt to shave off some of the commute time. This greatly increases the chances of a road accident happening and affects the safety of everyone else on the road.

person using phone while driving
Image by SplitShire on Pixabay: Avoiding cellphone use is one of the best ways to protect against distracted driving.

Causes of distracted driving

There are certain factors that can negatively influence your ability to concentrate on the road: perhaps you slept badly the night before and are exhausted, or maybe you’re in a rush because you’re already running late. Maybe you have screaming children in the back seat, or your phone is constantly ringing – the possibilities for distraction in this day and age are endless! The good news is that whatever the reasons behind your distracted driving, there are ways to improve it and to increase your safety on the road.

Ways To Protect Against Distracted Driving

Below, we’ve rounded up some simple and effective ways to minimize distractions while driving, and to protect and prevent against distracted driving dangers.

1. Switch off your phone or put it on silent while driving

This is incredibly important – ringing cellphones are a surefire way to reduce your focus on the road, and checking your cellphone while driving is very dangerous. Consider a hands-free set for your car if you really can’t avoid that call; or even better, consider simply not using your phone at all while on the road for maximum concentration behind the wheel. You could even think of it as a brief respite from the overload of messages and calls you receive each day!

2. Leave plenty of time to get to your destination

Ensure you check how long your route will take to drive, and allow adequate time for any potential delays, to reduce your stress levels while driving. Planning out your route well and doing some good time-keeping is the best way to make sure you aren’t running late and driving distractedly!

3. Don’t drive while you’re emotional

If you’re feeling angry, sad, or any other strong emotion to the extent that it may impact your ability to focus on the road or make rational decisions, then you should wait for this to pass before getting behind the wheel. If you drive while you’re processing something difficult or traumatic, you may find it hard to concentrate on your journey, which can be dangerous.

car dashboard
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: With these tips, you’ll know how to avoid distraction while driving!

4. Don’t play music loudly

If you play loud music to the extent that you cannot hear external noises, you’re putting yourself and others at risk – you may not hear other vehicles using their horns, or your vehicle making unusual noises that indicate a problem. Loud music or other sounds can be very distracting and may prevent you picking up on the usual warning signs.

5. Don’t drive while tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol

If you’re exhausted, or if you’ve taken medications or alcohol that are making your drowsy, you should not drive! Instead, wait until you’re well-rested and sober before undertaking any journeys. Substances of any kind, as well as a lack of sleep, affect your ability to react and to focus, so you will undoubtedly be driving distractedly.

If you follow these tips, you’re sure to be able to better focus on the road while driving. This will ensure you are a safer driver – which is good for you, your passengers, and those around you. Distracted driving can put you and others at great risk, so make sure you stay safe behind the wheel with some preparation and thought.

Featured image by Wonderlane on Unsplash