Just a little reminder about safe driving. Consider the following points to help you remember how to stay focused on the road.
According to Transport Canada, distracted driving causes more automobile accidents and collisions than driving impaired. Every driver can take precautions to minimize the likelihood of most types of incidents. How to stay focused behind the wheel?
Here are some sure-fire suggestions to help you drive safely, protecting yourself, your passengers and others on the road.
1. Safe driving means you can’t multi-task
We all take for granted how much we can accomplish while we’re driving. It seems we all forget that we’re in control of many tons of metal propelling at high speed down the road.
It’s hard to resist taking care of pesky little tasks while driving. But you must! It doesn’t matter how comfortable you feel, how ‘one with the automobile’ you feel because you simply can’t account for what others are doing on the road – how alert and focused other drivers are. You just have no control over what happens on the street or highway.
The best way to ensure your safety while you drive, and that of others, is to keep your focus.
2. Reserve your cellphone for emergencies only
In keeping with the first point, it’s important to focus on your driving, not taking or making phone calls. Reserve your mobile phone for emergencies only when you’re driving. It’s not to take distracting social calls.
Modern vehicles allow for hands-free, Bluetooth phone calls. But even that is enough of a distraction that can cause you to miss a critical visual or audio cue that could help you avoid a collision.
Always pull off the road to use your phone if you must take or make a call.
3. Don’t eat while you drive
Clearly, we feel like we have to stress how vital it is to resist doing anything else while you drive your vehicle. And that includes eating. Really, any activity that draws your attention away from what’s happening on the road increases your risk of a motor vehicle accident.
We’ve all brought food to consume in the car, so we can save time eating and just get on the road. But, a major distraction while driving is food spills. The time savings just isn’t worth the risk to yourself, your passengers, or others on the road.
4. Don’t try to drive through sleepiness and fatigue
Did you know? Sleepiness, or fatigue, is considered a cognitive distraction. And fatigue can be lethal if you’re driving. The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators reports that fatigue is a factor in as many as 21% of motor vehicle collisions each year – approximately 2,100 serious injuries and 400 deaths.
If you experience drowsiness or feel sleepy as you drive, don’t be afraid to find a safe location to pull over for a quick snooze. Even a few minutes will make a difference in helping you feel more alert. You should also take regular breaks to get out of the car to stretch your legs, helping to reduce feelings of fatigue.
If you choose to power through, you risk nodding off or even falling asleep. Either can result in disaster.
5. Minimize activity in your car
It’s not unusual to drive with several other people, friends, family members, or children in the car. Try to keep your conversations short, always focusing your attention on driving and the road rather than what’s going on in the vehicle, particularly if you’re driving in challenging weather conditions.
Develop good driving habits early
Good habits start early – when you first begin to drive! If you have kids soon to take the wheel, consider driving classes or driving school to give them a great start. If you are a more established driver, it doesn’t hurt to review your skills!