The task of driving requires your full attention at all times. Anything can happen in a split second and if you don't react in time, the consequences can range from a harrowing close call to tragedy. If you're distracted, the odds of you getting into an accident multiply, but you already knew that, right?
But still, accidents caused by distracted driving still happen everyday, so it's a good time to remind our dear motorists of what not to do behind the wheel.
Put the phone down
It goes without saying that you shouldn't be texting and driving or even interacting with your phone for prolonged periods. And yet, we still see some motorists finding creative ways to use their phones while driving. In fact, doing that is even more dangerous.
Sure, there's a text to answer or phone call to make, but it's still not an excuse to pick it up. Resist the urge as much as you can, but if you really can't, pull over to the side (while not impeding traffic) and go about your business. Better yet, hook your phone to a Bluetooth device if it's available in your vehicle. However, that brings us neatly to our second point.
Stop fiddling with the touchscreen
A lot of new cars these days come with touchscreens. We can dial through it, surf the web, and basically dig up sub menu after sub menu. While all that tech is nice to play around with, driving and fiddling around with a screen at the same time divides your attention. As much as possible, keep its use to a minimum, or just glance at it from time to time. Use it sparingly while driving, you still need to keep your eyes on the road.
So how do you keep touchscreen use to a minimum? Pair your device via Bluetooth, set the destination on your (mobile or in-car) navigation app, compile a playlist, and set everything to your preference before you hit the road. Thankfully, there's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto these days, which make things a little easier.
No heavy meals
Sometimes, we just can't avoid getting a bit hungry while driving. It's tempting to just chow down on a burger or some heavy meal, all while you're on the way to work or headed home. While eating snacks isn't generally frowned upon, it's a little bit trickier when the meal you want to munch on is something that needs two hands to eat.
Also, you're likely concentrating on not spilling anything in your car, all while driving, which means you're not entirely focused on driving. So, how can you satisfy your cravings while on the road? Two suggestions: eat before you head out, or stop and eat at the diner itself.
For the ladies...
We only have one tip to give the ladies out there reading this. Please don't put on your make-up while you're driving. Look at the road ahead and not at the mirror. You can never tell if the car in front has stopped and ruined mascara will be the least of your worries.
Carrying emotional baggage
Problems? Bad day at work? Leave it at the door. Emotions can mess up judgment and, if you keep following those feelings, the next thing you know, you're thinking more about something else than getting home safely. Again, leave the emotional baggage and stress out the door. There are people who love you and want to see you safe and sound.
When driving, always look at what's ahead of you and always be aware of your surroundings. When you get carried away by any form of distraction, you're not just putting yourself at risk; you're also putting your passengers and the rest of public in danger too. There are a lot of things that can take you by surprise, be it on city or country roads. And even though there are some cars out there with automatic emergency braking, or stability control, and other active safety systems, they won't always be able to pull you out from a dire situation.
Cars today are safer than ever, and the weakest part of it is the person behind the wheel. Always stay sharp and alert. Don't be overconfident in thinking that a few seconds of inattentiveness are fine just because you got away with it several times already. Your next distraction could be your last and you might not be as lucky next time.