Driver distractions have joined alcohol and speeding as leading factors in crashes that cause fatal and serious injuries. However, cellphones aren’t solely to blame. Anything that takes 100% of your attention away from driving is a distraction. Every day, more than 1,160 people are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
It’s easy to think that new car safety features would reduce the number of crashes, but the truth is that vehicle fatalities are up 6% since 2015. In fact, things like smartphones, onboard entertainment systems and voice command features have actually led to more distractions.
Whether driving for work or for personal reasons, it is important to remember that any activity that you engage in while driving is a potential distraction that increases your risk of crashing. Taking the following precautions can help you avoid distractions while driving:
- Silence your mobile devices and keep them away from you while driving to avoid being distracted by incoming calls or texts. If you must receive phone calls while on the road, pull over before answering, even if using a hands-free device.
- Set destinations in navigational devices before you depart.
- Make a playlist on your smartphone before you leave to avoid the temptation to change radio stations.
- Avoid eating while driving. Take proper breaks to allow yourself time for meals.
- Speak up if you’re a passenger of a distracted driver. Offer to take over the driving responsibilities if possible.
- Review your company’s safe driving policy to ensure that you are fully aware of the best practices when it comes to road safety and know what to do in an emergency.
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