Your vehicle can become a busy place—coffee dripping, windows fogging, phone ringing, kids making music requests…never mind what’s happening on the road. Some distractions can’t be avoided when you’re driving, but many are.
To help keep you and your family safe, you need to be able to focus completely on the road. In order to make that easier, our tire and driving experts have compiled our top five tips to avoid distractions while driving.
Top 5 Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving
1. Organize before you hit the road
• Eat and drink before you leave the house. Snacking behind the wheel can be as dangerous as talking on your phone. If you’ll be on the road for long stretches and you know you’ll be hungry, bring finger food snacks that are clean and easy to eat, such as a banana or granola bar.
• If you have kids, get them comfy and busy. Make sure all your little and not so little ones are well buckled and have the books, tech or toys they need to occupy them for a while. When they’re quiet and content, it’s easier for you to stay focused.
• Check your route, set your stereo, and comb your hair or fix your shirt before you turn the ignition. You’ll be less stressed and less at risk of an accident if you know where you’re going and don’t have to fiddle with your hair or the radio dial.
2. Make Driving Your Only Job
• To be truly focused, you can’t talk while you’re driving—on your cell phone directly or on your hands-free device. The same goes for texting or searching.
• Keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.
3. Don’t drive when you’re angry or upset
• When you have someone’s undivided attention in a vehicle, it might seem like a good time to have a serious or emotional conversation, but often it’s not. Anything that takes away from your ability to focus on the road and make smart decisions could be putting you at risk of an accident. Put off upsetting topics until you’re out of the vehicle.
• If you become very upset while you’re driving, pull over and wait until you feel calm to get back on the road.
4. Avoid driver fatigue
• If you’re going to be on the road for several hours, take turns driving with one of your passengers so you can give your eyes a break and get back behind the wheel later with fresh eyes.
• If you’re the only driver, don’t drive when you’re tired.
• Keep your eyes on the road and out of daydreams.
5. Be a defensive driver
• Always practice safe driving habits, such as scanning the road and checking your rear-view mirror every few seconds. In addition to helping you drive defensively, this helps keep your mind focused on driving.
• Prepare and slow down for road construction, but keep traffic going and avoid gawking at accidents.
• Get your vehicle ready for anything. It might be sunny and dry when you leave the house, but the roads could be a wet, slushy mess in a few hours. Make sure your gas tank is full, your wiper blades are in good shape, your wiper fluid is topped up and your tires are properly inflated.
While you’re looking for ways to drive more safely, why not make some vehicle maintenance resolutions too? Check out our post 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Drivers.