Distracted driving is all around us. With modern technology and smartphones in our possession, it is easy to get caught up in something else while operating our vehicles. But distracted driving is one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities on the road today. According to the NHTSA, almost 3000 people lost their lives due to distracted driving in 2018 with an estimated 400,000 injured. Teen drivers are most at risk due to their technology forward behaviors and in 2018, the State of Georgia set a law in motion making all communication while driving hands free.
What is considered distracted driving?
Distracted driving goes further than using your cell phone while driving. Anything that could prohibit focused and safe driving is considered distracted driving.
- Talking on the phone
- Eating or drinking
- Using GPS or other apps
- Watching a video or movie
- Playing with the radio
- Grooming/putting on makeup
- Being emotionally distracted
Tips TO AVOID DISTRACTED DRIVING:
#1 TURN ON AUTO-REPLY FOR YOUR TEXT MESSAGES
We have all heard the scary statistics. Sending a text behind the wheel is like driving blindfold across a football field. When you look down at your phone, your vehicle is still driving forward while you are basically blindfolded. A text can wait. To avoid the urge to text back or open your phone, simply keep your phone out of reach. Or, turn off your phone while driving.
Additionally, iPhones and Androids allow users to activate “Driving Mode” in which it sends out an auto-reply message. You can enter or edit an auto-reply for when Driving Mode is turned on, such as, “I’m driving right now- I’ll call you soon”.
#2 ORGANIZE BEFORE YOU Drive
Driving while scrounging in the center console is not safe. Prior to leaving for your destination, make sure you are organized. Make sure your GPS is programmed for your destination before you leave, or have your passenger be in charge of the GPS. The more you are organized before you leave, the less you will have to search for and take your eyes off the road when you need to grab something.
#3 IF YOU ARE Too Tired, PULLOVER
Being tired or drowsy increases the risk of a crash nearly 4 times. If you feel like you are too tired to drive, pull over. Don’t try to get home faster. Instead, pull over when you feel drowsy.
#4 AVOID EATING WHILE YOU ARE DRIVING.
According to studies, one of the biggest driving distractions is eating or food spilling. Finishing your lunch while driving may seem like a time saver. However, you are putting yourself and many others at risk.
#5 SAVE THE MULTITASKING FOR Later
You may be the best multitasker, which can be a great thing. However, when you are driving a vehicle, DO NOT attempt to multitask. Take care of the other things before you drive or once you arrive safely at your destination. If you struggle with time management, recognize this and use this as an opportunity to work on your time management skills that cross over to other aspects of your life.
#6 LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PASSENGERs.
Many states, including Georgia, have state laws that prevent teens from having teenage passengers in the car in their early months of driving. Driving with friends can create a risky environment. Driving solo helps you focus on the road rather than your friends. Limit the number of passengers to avoid distracted driving.
#7 SAVE THE GROOMING FOR THE BATHROOM.
We’ve all had those mornings (or afternoons) that we need to “get ready” in the car. Avoid this at all costs! Grooming in your car is not worth your life or others’. If you are using your mirror in a moving vehicle for anything other than driving, you are putting yourself and others at risk. Plan your time better in the morning, or finish getting ready in the appropriate employee facilities to finish your morning grooming. Or, you can carpool or call an Uber for the mornings you need extra time to get ready in the car.
#8 GET A GOOD HANDS-FREE PHONE MOUNT.
If you frequently use your GPS or a map app, get a mount for your phone. There are plenty of great gadgets that comply with the hands-free law.
Share this with your friends and family to avoid distracted driving. It’s deadly!
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