While road safety has improved over the past few years, one thing that is still a major problem is distracted driving. It has quickly become the number one cause of car accidents and that trend doesn’t look to change anytime soon.
In a study done by Zendrive, drivers used their smartphones during 88% of their driving trips. This study analyzed over 3 million drivers during more than 570 million driving trips, meaning that distracted driving is incredibly prevalent.
You can’t control what other drivers are doing, but you can moderate your driving habits. It’s very important to avoid distracted driving, which means taking proactive action to remove temptations.
We’ll cover a few effective ways of limiting distracted driving below to help you get started.
Silence and Mount Your Phone
Arguably the most effective thing you can do is silence your phone while driving.
You can do this by turning on do-not-disturb mode, which will silence any notifications, texts, or calls. More importantly, it won’t make your phone screen light up when any of those three things happen.
This means that you won’t hear or see any distractions from your phone. You might still know that notifications are coming in, but at least you won’t be actively distracted when they happen.
Once your phone is silenced, you should mount it to your dashboard or air vent. You can use a suction cup mount or a magnetic style that will keep your phone held in place.
This is effective in combination with silencing it because this will also keep it out of convenient reach. It’s easy to grab your phone when it’s sitting in a cup holder or on the seat next to you, but it’s far less convenient to remove it from a mount.
Install Distracted Driving Apps
If silencing your phone doesn’t work for you, then you should look into installing an app specifically designed for preventing distracted driving.
These nifty apps can detect when you’re driving by determining the speed at which you’re traveling. When they recognize that you’re driving, they’ll automatically silence notifications and texts and can even send an automated message that you’re busy driving.
Every app works a little differently. Some won’t silence text messages, but will instead read them aloud to you so that you don’t need to look at your phone to read them. Others disable your ability to send texts altogether.
Distracted driving apps are particularly helpful when you just don’t have the self-control to resist using your phone. Simply install one and set it up and you won’t need to worry about resisting the temptation anymore.
Set Your Destination Before Leaving
One common excuse for using a phone while driving is that you need directions to get somewhere.
Many modern smartphones are incredibly useful by offering GPS navigation and providing you with directions. You may have a genuine need for directions, but you don’t need to look them up while driving.
Even if you’re in a hurry, there’s no excuse for not taking just a few minutes to pull over and look up your destination. Better yet, if you know you need to find a location before you get in the car, put it into your phone before leaving.
If you’re using a distracted driving app, don’t worry about not being able to receive directions while driving. Most will allow the use of driving-specific apps while other functions are disabled.
Listen to a Music Playlist
Another reason for distracted driving is fiddling with the radio or looking up music on your phone.
Music can certainly make a drive more enjoyable, but it can also distract you if you keep changing stations or songs.
If you have Bluetooth capabilities with your stereo, then there’s a simple solution for this. Alternatively, you can use a cassette-deck adapter or aux cable to plug your phone in.
Once you’re connected, listen to a music playlist with audio already on your phone or through free online music streaming services like Pandora or Spotify. Make sure to start a playlist you enjoy so that you won’t be tempted to switch it during the drive!
Overcome the Urge to Multitask
Another tip for distracted driving is to overcome any urges to multitask.
While driving, there are many different things you might want to do at the same time. This includes eating, putting on makeup, reading a book, talking on the phone, or anything else that isn’t driving.
Multitasking makes you less effective at whatever tasks you’re doing. If you’re driving and applying makeup, then your driving is going to be poor and you’re not likely to do a good job with your makeup.
Driving is an activity that requires all of your attention and leaves no room for other tasks. Even if you can talk hands-free or craft text messages via voice-to-text functions, these both will require brainpower that will directly detract from your ability to drive!
Appreciate the Risks of Distracted Driving
You’ve likely driven dozens of times as a distracted driver without facing any consequences. This can lull you into a false sense of security that makes you think that you don’t need to worry about distracted driving because you’re “capable of multitasking just fine”.
If you ever drive distracted, then there’s a much greater chance that you’ll get into an accident or receive a traffic ticket. All it takes is one mistake for you to cause an accident that seriously injures you or another driver.
Your “perfect” track record of driving distracted doesn’t matter the moment you cause an accident. You will be at fault and therefore held responsible for any damages you cause.
There is not a single benefit to driving distracted and it is the number one cause of car accidents today.
As dangerous as distracted driving is, many drivers still can’t resist the temptation of using their smartphone or multitasking while behind the wheel.
This is incredibly selfish because it places other drivers at risk when you don’t dedicate your full attention to the road. Nobody is a good distracted driver and there’s no reason to drive if you can’t stay focused.
If you’re committed to not being a distracted driver, there are a few tricks you can use. This includes silencing and mounting your phone, installing a distracted driving app, listening to a music playlist, and setting your GPS destination before leaving.
You’ll also need to overcome any urge to multitask and fully appreciate the risks involving distracted driving. It only takes one foolish mistake to potentially ruin your life, so do yourself a favor by focusing on the road!