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Reducing Distractions While Driving

We have all been there. Running 10 minutes late, driving with our knee while simultaneously putting on our seatbelt and fussing with google maps, trying to figure out if we need to merge east or west. Or, maybe you come to a stoplight and think to yourself, “this is a good time to return that text.” But halfway through the message, the light turns green, and before you know it, you’re trying to keep one eye on the road, and one eye on your phone as you finish your message.

If we are honest, most of us have found ourselves in a situation like this. While many of us have not yet been scathed by the effects of distracted driving, recent statistics show that 391,000 drivers were injured as a direct result of distracted driving in 2017. In 2019, distracted driving was reported as the primary factor in 8.5% of fatal car accidents. Here are the common culprits that distract us while we are driving:

  • Texting while driving
  • Talking on the phone while driving
  • GPS devices
  • Distracting passengers
  • Eating while driving
  • Reading
  • Makeup Application

So, what can we do about this increasingly growing problem? Here are some commonsense solutions:

  • Wait to send that text until you have arrived at your destination. Generally, our texts are not as urgent as we perceive them. If there is truly an emergency, you will likely receive a phone call, not a text. However, if you really need to send a message, pull into a parking lot, place the car in park, and then type your message.
  • Use a hands-free device when talking on the phone.
  • Make sure you always input your GPS directions before you begin driving. This will prevent you from having to fuss with it while in motion.
  • There is a time for fun and silliness with friends. Driving down the highway is not one of those times. Be sure to talk with your kids about the importance of focus on the roads.
  • Food is wonderful, but while driving, it can be a real distraction. If you can, consider eating in the restaurant, rather than in the car. If you are going to eat and drive, consider ordering food that is easier to handle while driving.
  • Reading while driving? Just don’t.
  • Apply all makeup before you leave the house, or bring it with you and apply it once you reach your destination.

In many cases, distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. The good news is that we can eliminate almost all distracted driving with just a little commonsense. Before you get in the car next, think to yourself, what could be a potential distraction for me on this trip? Then, take the necessary steps to eliminate this distraction.