One of the best ways to reduce the amount of distractions we have while we’re operating a motor vehicle is by keeping our hands free, so that both of them can have complete control of the steering wheel.
Invest in a cell phone holder: For those of you who use your cell phone as a GPS, cell phone holders can be used to lock your cell phone in a fixed, secured position, so that you don’t have to be tempted to pick it up while you’re driving. The costs are minimal and these items can be found on amazon.com or at Best Buy.
Podcasts or Playlists: A lot of people like to listen to music or to podcasts while they’re driving. This is normal and perfectly safe as long as the volume isn’t so loud to the point where it hinders your ability to hear anything else around you i.e. a passenger’s voice or another car’s horn. It’s imperative that you keep your eyes on the road at all times while you’re behind the wheel. Podcasts are a great choice because they usually focus on one topic at a time, so you’re less inclined to use your hands to change to another topic or to another song. If you enjoy music more than podcasts, consider creating a playlist ahead of time for your travels, so you’re not tempted to touch the dials on your radio or your cell phone.
Don’t apply makeup in the car: Any time you do something that requires your eyes to move away from the road in front of you can present potential danger. Applying makeup is no exception. Serious injury could occur should you hit the vehicle in front of you!
Avoid eating or drinking: The truth is that no one can really multi-task effectively. Sure, you have two hands, so you think you can use one for one thing and the other for something else. It’s important to remember that you’ll never be able to give the proper attention to a single task if you attempt something else at the same time. Getting distracted is easy in these situations. Additionally, if you’re drinking a hot beverage, the possibility of spillage could result in a personal injury.
Limit distractions with passengers: When you’re having a conversation with another passenger, you may sometimes feel the need to turn your head towards them to acknowledge what they’re saying or to see if they’re acknowledging you. Don’t do this.
Let dropped items go: If you happen to drop something while driving, do not attempt to pick it up. Wait until you arrive at a red light to pick it up. If it’s easier for you, when you finally stop at the red light, put your car in park and then pick up the item you dropped. That way, the car won’t shift forward until you put the car back into drive.
Don’t become distracted by kids and dogs in the backseat: However adorable as they may be, rowdy children can present potential risks to your safety if they’re rough-housing in the backseat. That, compounded with shouting or screaming can escalate matters to a point you don’t want to have come to pass. As far as dogs are concerned, make sure they are properly secured in a pet seat. Many of them can be attached the your pet’s leash.
Don’t turn up the volume: You won’t be able to hear potential emergency vehicles attempting to pass you if your music is too loud. Keep your music volume to a reasonable level.
Avoid rubbernecking: Have you ever slowed down to see the aftermath of an auto accident? Don’t do it. It clogs traffic and requires your eyes to move away from what you should be focused on: what’s in front of you.
Avoid fixing your attention on pulled-over vehicles: In the words of Obi-wan Kenobi, “You don’t need to see his identification. Move along.”
Avoid tailgating: Maintain enough distance between yourself and the car in front of you, so that if you’re ever in situation that requires you to brake suddenly, you won’t slam cause a collision. You’ll avoid potentially injuring the driver in front of you, let alone getting them upset. No one wants that.
Avoid rowdy passengers: Being rowdy in the car isn’t worth causing an accident. Leave the rowdiness for when you reach your destination.
Wear sunglasses and use your visor: Make sure you have your sunglasses available at sunrise and sunset, when the sun is at its most powerful.
Don’t smoke and drive: This is similar to eating and driving because it requires one hand to not be the steering wheel.
Avoid basic grooming tasks: Don’t shave, adjust your clothing, or do your hair while you’re behind the wheel of your vehicle.
Don’t put your convertible top up while in traffic: Although some cars have this feature available that allows you to do this with the simple push of a button, it may become distracting for other drivers near you. If you must, pull over on the side of the road before adjusting your convertible top.
Don’t overreact to outside stimuli: Road rage is a serious issue. While it’s normal to react when someone honks their horn at you, it’s best to not fly off the handle at them. Instead, take a deep breath and remain calm. Road rage incidents have the potential to hurt you and others around you.