One of the worst threats to pedestrians and motorists is distracted driving. In 2011, more than 380,000 people were killed because of distracted drivers, according to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
These numbers are alarming; they indicate how much drivers’ attention is being lured from the road by technology such as mobile phones, on-board computers, and other gadgets.
Here are four simple ways you can prevent your technology from distracting you while you’re driving and lower your risk of hurting yourself or others.
1. Silent mode
Take your cell phone and put it on silent mode when you climb into the driver seat. Place it somewhere it won’t be in contact with your body, so you won’t feel it vibrate every time you get a text or social media message.
Looking at your cell phone while driving can be a fatal act. You could also shut your phone off completely, so you aren’t tempted to pick it up while you’re driving.
2. Mobile avoidance
Some people aren’t just distracted by the sound of mobile alerts. They’ll look away from the road whenever their mobile device screen lights up to signal that they have a new message or update.
If you find yourself unable to keep your eyes away from that screen, then remove your device(s) from the front seat area. Place it or them in the glove compartment, in your trunk, or in the back seat, where it will be impossible to reach.
Sometimes keeping your phone out of sight will place it largely out of mind, which will dramatically improve your awareness while on the road.
3. On-board computing
Okay, so the pesky phone isn’t bothering you anymore. But many new cars now come with on-board computers, to give you access to a plethora of hands-free and screen-based controls.
The screen might show you navigation instructions or eco-efficiency metrics. But it also poses a distraction. Try to avoid looking at this screen while your vehicle is in motion.
4. Stereo volume
For many of us, one of the perks of driving is getting to turn up the stereo and sing along to our favorite bands. But driving with music turned up too loud can prevent you from becoming aware of immediate threats, such as a drink driver screeching his tires nearby, an approaching siren, or the blast of a horn.
Being able to hear warning sounds can protect you from vehicular collisions and close calls.
Devices such as our car stereos, mobile technology, or on-board computer systems can diminish our ability to pay attention to the road. Start using some of the above tips during your daily commute to reduce the risk of that you’ll end up in an automobile accident.