Distractions You Didn’t Even Know Were Affecting Your Ability to Drive
In today’s get-up-and-go world, multi-tasking is a practice that many of us believe we have mastered. Whether it is responding to emails while on the treadmill, talking to a friend while cooking dinner, or watching the morning news while getting ready for work, many of us multi-task many aspects of our lives without even noticing it. But, the scary thing is that the multi-tasking does not necessarily end when we get behind the wheel. Here are some of the most common driving distractions and how to avoid them.
Wireless Devices and Radios
Using a cell phone while driving is a distraction that has gotten a lot of attention recently. The statistics surrounding this distraction and accidents caused by it are startling and many campaigns have been launched to end this bad habit. Other electronic devices can be distracting to drivers as well, including GPS and radio. In order to avoid these distractions, set the GPS before leaving your driveway and make sure your radio station is set so you do not have to change or adjust it during the trip. If that song is just killing you, wait till you get to a red light so it doesn’t actually kill you!
Eating and Drinking
Since many of us are subject to an on-the-go lifestyle, it may be commonplace to eat meals while driving. Even though this seems innocent and may not distract from the physical ability to drive, it does take your concentration off the road and may be a distraction to what is going on around you. Unwrapping a burger or picking up a drink will inevitably take your eyes off the road – a better practice is to eat before leaving for a trip or pulling over in parking lot or side of the road to finish your meal. A car travels the distance of a city block in less than five seconds, which is probably far less than it takes you to take a bit of your sandwich and put it back down.
We have all seen drivers who are late for work, putting on makeup or shaving in the car while on the highway. Again, it may seem commonplace in a busy lifestyle, but personal grooming while behind the wheel is just as dangerous as texting and driving. Looking in the rearview or flip-down mirror to complete these tasks will take your eyes off the road. Instead, try to stick to your schedule or do personal grooming when you arrive at your destination. A quick trip to the restroom once you get checked in is much better than ending up in the back of an ambulance.
While having eyes on the road and having hands available to control the car is important, your mental alertness is just as important. When a driver is overly emotional, thinking about other things or simply not paying attention, it can be equally as dangerous as when they are physically distracted. Before getting behind the wheel, think about your mental state – Do you have a lot on your mind? Are you in a highly emotional state? If the answer is “yes,” consider waiting until you are in a calmer state to drive.
Avoiding distracted driving is a significant part of learning how to drive. If you have a new teen driver that is already getting distracted before he or she has his or her license, it may be better to have a professional driving instructor involved. Training Wheels Driving School is a Galloway driving school serving all areas of the South Jersey shore. For more information about Training Wheels or to get information about scheduling an appointment, please click here.