In an ideal world, getting behind the wheel of a car and heading out on the roads would be a perfectly safe activity, without any risks, hazards, or dangers to take into account whatsoever. Unfortunately, the real world is a far cry from such an ideal concept, with statistics showing that six million auto accidents occur every year in the US, leading to around 100 daily deaths.
There are many possible causes of these kinds of accidents, from drivers who behave recklessly and allow themselves to drive under the influence to unpredictable storms and treacherous weather conditions making it much harder for road users to remain in control of their vehicles. Another common cause of auto accidents is distracted driving.
Reports show that distracted driving leads to 3,000 deaths per year, on average, along with countless unnecessary injuries and a great deal of preventable harm, both physical and mental. Anyone can get distracted, and just a single lapse in concentration can cause an accident to happen, but with a little bit of effort and focus, you can reduce your risks of falling victim to distractions entirely.
Be Aware of the Risks
One of the simplest ways in which you can start getting safer and more sensible about your driving is to do your research and make yourself aware of the many possible distractions that might be found in your vehicle each time you take to the road. Phones are the most obvious distraction, but there are many other activities that can take your attention from the road.
Examples of distracting elements include using other devices like in-car entertainment systems or GPS systems, looking at your smartwatch, trying to read maps or directions without stopping the car, eating snacks, drinking from bottles, getting into arguments or deep discussions with your fellow passengers, or even just checking your appearance in the mirror.
Concentrate at All Times
A great way for any driver to reduce their risks of falling victim to distractions and putting themselves and their passengers in danger is to make sure to concentrate and focus on the road around them at all times. You might not be able to control the actions of other drivers, but by watching their actions and keeping your hands on the wheel, you can prepare for any eventuality.
Constantly remind yourself of your responsibility as a driver. Your life, the lives of your passengers, and the safety of other road users around you is all in your hands; it’s up to you to have the concentration and attention needed to keep everyone safe and protected throughout each and every journey,
Never Use Your Phone
Smartphones have changed the world as we know it. They’re found in almost every home nowadays, and countless people rely on them for work, play, news, weather, and communication with friends and family. They’re immensely useful and can even play a part in keeping you safe on the road if you use some of the many safe driving apps out there.
However, aside from offering a few safety advantages in specific cases, phones are not your best friend when sitting behind the wheel. As mentioned above, they’re one of the worst culprits causing dangerous driving incidents all over the globe, and a worrying percentage of Americans admit to using their phones while driving. Try to avoid doing the same.
Keep Your Car Organized
Having a tidy car might not sound like the most logical way to avoid distractions, but it can help out in more ways than one, and it’s never a bad idea to give your car a tidy from time to time, ensuring that no loose items are rolling around by your feet or causing distracting noises as you drive around from place to place.
Untidy cars can cause all kinds of distractions, as well as being more dangerous, as loose items can turn into dangerous projectiles if an accident occurs or the car comes to a sudden stop. Make sure everything is tidied away in its own containers or cleared out of the vehicle altogether, and if you’re packing the car ahead of a big trip or vacation, make sure all your bags and boxes are firmly in place.
Be Careful with Medication
One of the most overlooked issues that can lead to distracted driving is the fact that a lot of common medications, including over-the-counter pills as well as prescription medicines, can actually lead to drowsiness and lower concentration levels too. Many people are unaware of this and see no problem in taking pills before they drive.
This is why it’s always important to read the labels of any medicines you take, especially for driving, and consult the list of possible side effects. Pay close attention and if you see that a new medication may cause drowsiness, fatigue, or anything else that could lead to you getting distracted or losing focus, avoid taking it before driving. Test it out in a safe place, ideally at home, beforehand to see how your body reacts.
Don’t Give in to Road Rage
Another common cause of auto accidents and collisions of all kinds is road rage, and too many people tend to ‘see red’ and lose their focus when another drive behaves badly on the roads. We’ve all had to deal with bad drivers breaking the speed limits, failing to signal, braking suddenly right in front of us, and so on.
However, while we all have to deal with these drivers, we can each choose how to respond to them. Getting angry and driving recklessly yourself is never the right answer, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be so distracted by the driver who enraged you that you might put yourself in serious danger. Instead, try to remain calm and focused on your own safety.
Distracted driving causes a shocking number of accidents every single year, and the worst part of all is that so many of those accidents could have been avoided with a little more concentration and patience. Do the right thing and avoid distractions while driving to protect yourself and others.