Driving requires your full attention. But, with so many distractions available to us, it can be challenging to keep our focus on the road. Here are nine common driving distractions and how you can minimise them, so your attention remains on the road ahead of you.
1. Mobile phones
The most common distraction is mobile phones, whether it’s checking for and replying to text messages, or answering phone calls. Try and limit your mobile phone distraction by utilising a function that reads your text messages for you. If you have to read a text message or answer a call, pull over safely.
2. Using GPS
Setting up your GPS while driving is just as dangerous as using your mobile phone. Make sure your GPS is mounted so you don’t have to keep glancing down at it. If possible, turn on the speech function so you can listen to the directions instead of looking having to glance at your phone.
3. Talking to your passengers
Having a conversation with a passenger in your car is normal but it can be distracting if you’re laughing, focusing on the conversation, or looking at them instead of the road. Try and limit the conversation or ask your passengers to help keep your attention on the road.
4. Your surroundings
Driving to a new area and taking in the sights of your surroundings can be distracting. If you’d like to sightsee, find a spot to pull over so you can have a proper look around.
5. Adjusting audio or climate control
Sometimes the temperature in the car changes and it gets a bit uncomfortable, or sometimes your favourite song comes on and you’d like to adjust the volume. But, if you’re busy fiddling with buttons, your attention will be on what you’re doing rather than on the road. Wait until you’ve stopped at traffic lights to make adjustments. If you’re in a newer car, use the controls on your steering wheel.
6. Children or pets
If you’re driving with children or pets, it can be stressful trying to keep them under control while you’re trying to focus on the road. Letting your pet roam free is dangerous for them and you so it’s important they’re constrained or in a cage so they’re not running or jumping around. Make sure your children have their seatbelt on and try and give them snacks, water, or entertainment before driving. If you need to address any issues, pull over.
7. Eating and drinking
Sometimes eating and drinking in the car is unavoidable if you’re going from place to place and need to fit in time to have food. However, tucking into a burger or dipping your fries into a sauce pot while trying to control your steering wheel can be dangerous. Find a spot to pull over and eat your food and, if you need to drink, use a straw so you’re not trying to open bottle caps while driving.
Grabbing a cigarette, lighting it up, tapping the ash off it and putting it out in the ashtray are all activities that will distract you from keeping your eye on the road. Try to avoid smoking when driving.
9. Avoid mental distractions
When we’re emotional, it can be mentally distracting. If you’re feeling sad, angry, or stressed, take some time out to decompress and take a breather before driving.
Everyone gets distracted sometimes while they are driving, but you shouldn’t let this endanger you, your passengers, and others on the road. By reducing the number of distractions around you, you can significantly reduce the risk of having an accident.