We’ve all seen people do crazy things while driving. A guy shaving in the rear-view mirror, a woman applying makeup, people talking on their phones, texting or drinking from an enormous coffee mug. All of these are an accident waiting to happen. The truth is we’re all distracted when we drive. Traffic, road construction and other things outside the car are beyond our control. But the distractions inside our car are things we can often control.
- Drivers who are 16 to 20 years old tend to be more distracted by the radio, CD or MP3 player.
- Drivers who are 20 to 29 are more distracted by passengers in the car, including small children.
- And those over age 65 tend to be more distracted by objects or events that are outside of the vehicle.
Other factors like fatigue, stress and lack of sleep make it harder to pay attention to driving – no matter what age we are. People are also distracted by thinking about relationships, family issues, money and bills. So what can we do to manage these distractions? Well, the first thing is to eliminate as many as we can.
When you get in your car, make sure you’re belted in; that the seats, steering wheel and mirrors are adjusted; and your radio or CD player is ready.
Secure any loose objects in the car that can fall on the floor and interfere with your driving.
If you have a drink, make sure it’s spill-proof and put in a cup holder. Pets should also be contained.
If you’re riding with kids, make sure they’re wearing seat belts or secured in safety seats. You may want to give em some distractions to keep them quiet and sitting in their seats. Don’t get involved in their arguments while you’re driving. Pull over if you need to find a toy or break up a fight.
If you eat while driving, keep it to simple finger foods that aren’t messy.
Learning your car’s controls before you drive is another way to improve your safety. Know how to work the radio by touch. The same goes for heating and air conditioning controls.
If you have to use a cell phone, a hands-free system is best. But remember, the biggest cell phone distraction isn’t the phone itself – it’s the conversation. Keep conversations brief and light, or pull over if you can. Your reaction time is much slower when talking and driving, so allow more space between you and the car ahead of you. Know your local laws – it may be illegal to be on the phone or text in your area.
And if you really think you have to shave, change your clothes or put on make-up while driving – you’re wrong. Just start getting ready earlier so you have enough time to finish those things before you drive.
Remember, driving is probably the most dangerous thing you’ll do all day – so don’t make it any worse. Use these tips to keep you and your loved ones safer behind the wheel.