A lot of things can demand your attention while driving – don’t let your cell phone or radio be one of them. If you struggle with temptation or distractions on the road, follow these 10 tips to ensure a safer journey for you, your passengers and other motorists.
1. Get Organized.
When you’re in a hurry, it can be tempting to hop in the car and take care of the GPS later, but doing so will only result in stressful, distracted driving. Before you hit the pedal, set up your GPS and put aside money for the toll, so you’re completely prepared.
2. Secure Your Passengers.
Make sure all pets and children are properly secured. If you leave pets roaming free, they may distract you by trying to climb around the vehicle. Also, it’s good practice to check that all the doors are completely shut and that everyone is buckled in and has everything they might need within easy reach, so you can avoid handing items to the backseat throughout the trip.
3. Minimize Noise.
If your vehicle beeps incessantly when you don’t put your seatbelt on, when a door is slightly ajar or when you’re running low on gas, take care of those things right away. Try to control the noise level as much as you can by turning down the radio, too.
4. Avoid Personal Grooming.
Are you guilty of fixing your hair or applying mascara while driving? Finish your personal grooming routine inside the house, because it’s impossible to focus 100% with your hands off the steering wheel and your eyes off the road.
5. Learn Your Vehicle.
Memorize where all the buttons in your car are located, from cruise control settings to the windshield wiper activators, so you can make adjustments quickly and easily.
6. Think Before You Eat.
It’s okay to keep a drink or a snack on hand – just make your selections wisely. Don’t choose anything too messy or something that requires two hands to eat, and opt for a drink with a straw rather than a twist-on lid.
7. Put Away Your Cell Phone.
Answering calls, responding to texts, checking e-mails, playing games – all of it can wait until after you’ve parked the car. If you have a passenger, ask them to text for you, so you can keep your eyes on the road at all times.
8. Keep It Peaceful.
Avoid thinking about or engaging in stressful conversations. Getting worked up emotionally can lead to risky driving, especially if you start to cry, as blurry vision makes the road, surrounding traffic and important signs difficult to see.
9. Turn Off Technology.
While voice commands and Bluetooth are better alternatives to typing or talking on a cell phone, they’re still a distraction and should be used as little as possible.
10. It’s Okay To Pull Over.
Don’t be afraid to pull over if you have to. If you’re drowsy, need to take a call or care for young children in the backseat, play it safe by pulling off to the side of the road or into a nearby parking lot.
Anything can happen on the road, so be careful to take the necessary precautions to ensure less distractions and more focus on your part. If you follow these 10 tips, then you’re bound to be aware, alert and ready for a successful, safe trip. Check out Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices’ blog for even more safe driving suggestions.