The road is dangerous enough—you can’t predict what other drivers will do, and you continually need to keep an eye out for obstacles. Taking your attention away from the road while you drive makes it even harder to respond to any changes around you. In fact, by driving distracted, you become a safety hazard to others and your passengers. If you’d like to cut down on these risks, consider how to avoid dangerous driving distractions.
Don’t Gape at Roadside Accidents
First, resist the urge to gape at accidents you pass. If something is terrible to watch but hard to pull your eyes from, people liken it to viewing a car accident. While there is something deep down that provokes us to take our eyes off where we’re going and watch the grisly scene, this isn’t advisable when driving.
Allow yourself a quick glance, and if someone needs help, pull over. If emergency vehicles are already on the scene, count to five as you face forward with your eyes on the road. If you’re really curious, ask a passenger what’s going on.
Restrict Device Use
Over the last decade, many states have instituted laws banning device use while driving. Practically speaking, avoiding phone use is more difficult than one may expect, necessitating a structured approach. To prevent yourself from looking at texts and taking calls, put your phone on airplane mode as you drive. You can also keep your device out of reach or hand it off to a passenger who can receive any messages for you.
Keeping your phone off when in traffic is a foundational traffic jam driving practice. It’s all too easy to feel comfortable pulling it out when driving at slow speeds, but then you’re not ready to react if a car stops suddenly in front of you. You need full awareness, no matter how fast you’re traveling.
Reward Your Kids for Staying Seated and Behaved
Meanwhile, parents need to know how to address a uniquely dangerous driving distraction—their kids. Make clear to your kids that they cannot mess around in the car. If they do, everyone in the car becomes less safe. Training them to keep their seatbelt on, treat their sibling with respect, and keep their voices down is vital. In doing so, offer rewards for good behavior to drive home how serious you are about car safety.