According to AAA, distracted driving is responsible for around 8,000 accidents per day in the United States. The United States Department of Transportation even says that distracted driving caused at least 5,500 deaths and nearly 450,000 injures in 2009.
Lucky for us, combating distracted driving is simple. The opposite of “distracted” is “focused,” so in order to stop being “distracted drivers,” we need to start being “focused drivers.” Follow these five tips below improve your focus on the road and to stay safe.
You need to stay alert while driving if you want to stay safe on the road. Read below for our five suggestions on how to keep your focus. (Image: Flickr)
1) Be Prepared For Your Trip
Before you take off, you should eat, use the bathroom, apply makeup or shave, send all your texts, and make all the phone calls you need to make. When driving, you need to make sure that the only thing you need to do at that time is drive. This means that you should also read the maps you need to and memorize (or at least be familiar with) your route. Constantly glancing down at a map while you are driving can be very dangerous.
2) Put Your Mobile Phone Away
It’s very important for some people to have their phone on them at all times of the day. Being away from their cellphone for even a minute is torture for some people. We aren’t saying that you should leave your phone at home (or even turn it off while you are driving). Having a working mobile phone with you is actually very important if you get into an accident (or have an emergency on the road). If you want to stay as safe as possible while driving, however, you need to refrain from cellphone use at all times. Driving with one hand on the wheel and the other hand on your phone is a recipe for disaster!
3) Drink Coffee
Studies have shown that caffeine has a positive effect on your driving skills. A recent survey by InsurancePanda.com shows that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day is the safest way to stay focused on the road. If coffee isn’t your thing, try a caffeine substitute like tea, soda, or even caffeine pills. (As if I needed another reason to drink coffee!)
4) Take Breaks (or naps)
Although stimulants like caffeine can replace rest for a lot of people, they still aren’t as good as the real thing. It’s important to pull over and regroup if anything is bothering you while you are driving. This includes, but not limited to – fatigue, need to use the bathroom, muscle cramps, hunger, etc. Taking regular breaks are important for maintaining focus, especially during long, monotonous driving.
As Americans, we are lucky. Fast food stops, gas stations, hotels, and rest areas are easy to find along any stretch of roadway. In fact, you can’t even drive more than twenty minutes without running into one. If you need a break, take it!
5) Keep Your Children At Bay
Loud children can make any drive a nightmare. To keep them from crying, whining, or throwing things at your face while you are driving, make sure you have enough things in your car to keep them occupied. Books, CD’s, DVD’s, and video games are all good things to give to your children to keep them quiet. You should also make sure you have enough snacks and drinks in the car to keep your children well-fed and content.