Distracted Driving Behaviors and How to Prevent Them

Nowadays, life is so busy that everyone is constantly trying to multi-task to save themselves a few seconds here and there. While this is all well and good, you should never try and do anything that distracts you when you're behind the wheel.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is anything that takes even the smallest amount of attention away from your ability to focus completely on operating your motor vehicle. This can include sending a text, making a phone call, eating, or even changing the radio station. 

While everyone thinks they can perform these tasks without issue while driving, it just isn't the case. In 2020 alone, 3,142 lives were lost due to distracted driving along with 400,000 injuries. Don't become another statistic! It's always safest to wait until you get to your destination to do anything besides driving.

Why Are We Guilty of Driving Distracted?

People being easily distracted combined with having the convenience of almost everything in the modern world at our fingertips on our phones quickly increases the odds of driving distracted. These are the most common reasons we are guilty of distracted driving.

Using Your Phone

The biggest reason most people drive distracted is their cell phones. Every time you hear a beep, ding, or ring, it tempts you to immediately pick up your phone and see what your notification is. The NCSL estimates that there are nearly 800,000 driverson the road at any time that are using their cell phones. It is also the biggest distraction for teen drivers who want to constantly scroll through social media or send texts. 

Eating on the Run

You may feel like you don't have enough minutes in the day to eat a full meal at home between running to work, school, or various appointments and activities. This leads you to prepare food to eat while you're driving or to pick up fast food. 

Unfortunately, eating and driving may actually be harder to do than texting while driving. You have to constantly think about where the food is you're reaching for and which sauces to dip your fries in, all while trying not to spill anything. Any second your eyes aren't on the road, the greater the odds are of an accident occurring. 

Adjusting the Radio

Every time you hear an ad come on the radio or hear the same old song, you get tempted to change the station. Even though this is only a split-second decision, it can still distract you enough to cause an accident. Only adjust your radio when you're stopped or if you have steering wheel controls.  

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

While it is easy to drive distracted, there are even easier ways to avoid it in the first place. Try some of these tips, and you'll have less to worry about while behind the wheel.

  • Store your cellphone — Put your cellphone in your glovebox or anywhere else where you can't access it while driving. If you are using it as a GPS, place it in a phone holder and don't touch it while you're moving.

  • Disconnect from work — Don't think about work while you're behind the wheel, especially if it's to answer a call or email. Set an auto-response that you're driving so that your boss or co-workers know not to distract you.

  • Eat at home — Eat at home, at work, or at a restaurant instead of while you're driving. Your car will even be less messy if you do so. 

  • Minimize the number of passengers — Try to limit the number of people you have in your car if you're easily distracted. The fewer people, the fewer distractions. 

Drive Safely and Without Distractions

The only way to drive safely is to eliminate all potential distractions. Everything can wait until you reach your destination, and if it is an emergency, then pull over. Another way to help you drive safely is to take a driver's education course at DriversEd.com. You can learn wherever and whenever with our online classes.

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Updated 9/6/22