Though many drivers tend to scoff and roll their eyes at the stereotype of a teenager texting while driving, the truth is that every driver has experienced this at one point. Whether they’re a teen just learning how to drive or an experienced driver with millions of miles behind them, distraction is an epidemic affecting everyone on the road. Additionally, distraction while driving isn’t an innocent occurrence as it can quickly turn a routine drive into a dangerous accident. It’s for these reasons that you should be taking all the precautions you can to prevent distracted driving before getting behind the wheel. This is how to avoid common driving distractions and how you can identify them yourself.
Identifying the Most Common Driving Distractions
Before you can learn how to best avoid common driving distractions, it’s crucial that you first know what those distractions could be. Truth be told, there are a variety of potential distractions that all come in different shapes and forms. This makes it difficult for you to know what you need to prepare for. However, many of these distractions can break down into categories for you to gain a better understanding of the situations you need to be wary of.
Cell Phone Distractions
Our phones have become our lifelines and connections to the outside world. Always online, many of us begin to feel uncomfortable if we’re unable to interact with the web—even for a short amount of time. As our phones advance and are capable of more things, they’ve also grown into a huge distraction for everyone on the road. Whether it’s to send a simple text or something as complex as reading an email, these actions distract you long enough for something dangerous to occur.
Your mental state can also distract you from driving. Even though you’re lucid and looking at the road, it doesn’t always mean that you’re focusing and comprehending what’s going on in front of you. It’s for this reason that it’s highly discouraged to drive in an altered mental state. Some examples of this altered state of consciousness include being upset or emotional, feeling tired, or daydreaming. Even if you feel as though you’re still capable of driving while in these conditions, you aren’t as focused on the road as you need to be to drive safely.
Vehicle distractions could include everything from fiddling with your radio to checking your GPS for directions. While these actions might seem harmless at the time, road conditions have the potential to change with little notice and you could become vulnerable before you realize it. It’s also important to keep in mind that this type of distraction doesn’t only affect your vehicle. In fact, encountering a reckless driver could temporarily throw off your focus. That’s why you must familiarize yourself with the different types of drivers you could find on the road and train yourself to respond effectively.
Though we all love to have company along for a lengthy car ride, our passengers can also disrupt our driving and distract us from road hazards. Whether your companion riding shotgun is a person or a pet, they run the risk of breaking your concentration and affecting your driving ability. We can say the same about those suffering from road rage. In this instance, you become distracted because you're upset and are being confrontational with other drivers—putting you in additional danger.
Like it’s become a habit to check our phones while driving, many have also developed the bad practice of completing their daily routine on the road. This could include eating, drinking, and even putting on makeup while also trying to get to work on time. While many can consider themselves great multitaskers, driving is one activity that requires your full and undivided attention to succeed. As such, many individuals who finish their routine in the car will also likely get into an accident.
How to Focus Despite Distraction
Though distraction is extremely difficult to eliminate entirely, especially if you’re in the vehicle for extended periods, there are ways you can significantly cut back on it. Each distraction gone ignored makes your drive a little safer for you as well as those driving around you. As such, be sure to practice these strategies for reducing the number of distractions you become exposed to and react correctly to the ones that do occur.
Put Distracting Items Away
Putting an end to the distraction from your phone and other items is often as simple as turning it off and placing it aside during the ride. However, our dependence on our phones can make the task quite difficult for some. Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you find a way to restrict your phone usage in the vehicle. Whether it be with an app or removing the device entirely, this is can go a long way in cutting back on your occasional distraction.
Take Frequent and Regular Breaks
If you’re feeling tired, it can be impossible to keep your mind engaged on the road. So, it’s important that you give yourself some time to rest and recuperate before setting out again. Though it might seem like a waste of time to stop for a break, you will be significantly safer for doing so and your health will thank you.
Limit the Number of Passengers You Have
You know yourself better than anyone else, and as such, you’ll know if you’re the type of person who becomes distracted by your passengers while driving. This might require you to limit the number of passengers in your car to create a focused environment for yourself. For those who you do allow to drive with you, make sure they know not to distract you to maintain as much of your focus as possible. Additionally, make sure that any pets riding with you are properly secured and not roaming freely around the vehicle.
Complete Your Routine Before You Drive
To avoid any tendency to multitask in the vehicle, it’s crucial that you make a conscious effort to complete your entire routine before you leave. Not only will this make for a more pleasurable drive, but you won’t be at risk for looking away at the wrong moment.
For those who make their career as a commercial truck driver, distracted driving could be an everyday occurrence. With long days spent on the road in unfamiliar regions, the risk of becoming and staying distracted increases with every additional mile. That’s why at Unitruck it’s our goal to keep you focused and engaged by supplying you with the tools to see what’s around you. Our stock of Kenworth and Volvo truck mirror parts allow you to maintain your focus by keeping you informed on the driving hazards nearby.