Distracted driving is not only illegal, but dividing your attention while behind the wheel can have serious, and even fatal, consequences for you and other motorists. Whether you are operating your own car, a motorcycle, or another vehicle, your attention must be completely focused on obeying the rules of the road, and away from anything else, in order to avoid injury for yourself and others.
According to NHTSA, driving while distracted endangers thousands of people in the country annually, claiming the lives of over 3,000 people every year. Understand the basics about distracted driving in order to make the roads a safer place to be–and save valuable lives.
What constitutes distracted driving?
Distracted driving is simply anything that takes your full attention away from driving responsibilities. Common self-imposed distractions include:
- Talking on the phone
- Reading, writing or sending a text message
- Eating and drinking
- Checking or fixing your appearance in the mirror
- Making various adjustments to the temperature, music or other car settings
- Using a GPS or navigation system
- Zoning out or daydreaming
In addition to these distractions, a number of additional factors can interfere with your ability to drive safely, such as disruptive or demanding passenger behavior and drowsiness or fatigue.
How can you eliminate distractions?
Before you put your vehicle into drive, be sure that you have everything you need to operate it safely and comfortably. If you feel drowsy or need to eat, send a text message, reach something off the floor or otherwise pay attention to anything other than the road, pull your vehicle into a safe location to take care of other matters.
While driving, keep your eyes and ears on the task at hand. The fewer distractions you have to compete with, the safer you, and everyone else on the road, will be.