Every year there are thousands of fatalities on the road that are entirely avoidable if the person behind the wheel was momentarily distracted. As a driver, this may come as shocking news, and you may even be tempted to get angry at those ‘reckless’ drivers.
But exactly what distractions are these that cause those fatal crashes? Taking your eyes off the road to glance at your phone to see who sent you a message, trying to set up your sat-nav while driving, or engaging in a conversation with passengers in your back seat are just a few examples of seemingly minor distractions that can have catastrophic results.
None of these activities in itself is wrong, but the time you engage in them is what can prove deadly. It is therefore important to be aware when a seemingly innocuous activity is becoming a distraction. Here are some of the signs to look out for.
Both Eyes On The Road
You should be aware when something is pulling your eyes off the road that, you could endanger your life and the lives of other road users. You could be turning to see who is calling when your phone rings in the passenger seat, or you could be turning to see what your child is fussing about in the backseat.
These are classified as visual distractions and include flashy billboards, other cars, or pedestrians walking by. There are also manual distractions that will cause you to take your hands off the wheel. Some examples are reaching for your phone to answer that call if you don’t have your hands-free kit set up or fiddling with the GPS.
Then there are the distractions that you don’t see. Yes, these do exist. Most drivers will admit to their minds wandering off to some incident that happened in the past or running over what they will say in an impending interview or sales pitch. These are cognitive distractions and can be just as costly as tangible ones.
If you have been driving for a few years, you may think such distractions cannot affect your concentration on the road. You may think you have developed the capacity to maneuver the car while attending to one or two other things, but, experts occur.
They say that you are not doing the activities simultaneously when you attempt to multitask. In reality, you are rapidly shifting your attention back and forth between those activities. And it is in between those blind spots that the mistakes happen.
It Only Takes a Second
Scientists say that when we’re distracted from something, the mental response involved in interrupting our movement when making sudden stops is activated, and when this happens, everything your brain was processing at that moment is wiped out.
That split second required to restore your focus on driving is all it takes for an accident to happen. How can you avoid such unfortunate events while out on the road? Take a look at some of the safe driving tips listed below that you can incorporate to develop safer habits.
Reduce the Distractions Around You
If your attention is constantly being drawn by your ringing or buzzing phone, why not mute it completely or turn it off for the duration of your drive? Most of the calls or messages we receive in the course of the day do not involve an emergency that requires our immediate attention. You can always return calls or respond to messages after safely arriving at your destination.
Meditation will help you learn to be calm, focus on a task and resist distractions for longer. A few minutes of meditation every morning will improve your concentration when driving and doing other tasks. Develop a habit of focusing and completing one task at a time and try to minimize multitasking.
But what if the worst happens and you find yourself in a crash? How can you minimize your losses? The first measure you can take is to get a good auto insurance package. Yes, it will be an added expenditure, and your budget may already be tight, but you might be in luck in terms of affordable rates if you live in states like Maine or Iowa, known for the lowest premiums in the nation.
And even if you’re not as lucky, if you reside in one of the more expensive states for insuring a vehicle like Michigan, Texas, or California, you can still find low-income car insurance in Texas by bundling plans, as well as for other areas or regions when rates can fluctuate, even from county to county.
Have You Audited Your Driving Habits?
You may not realize you are engaging in distracted driving until you do a careful audit of your driving habits. Even eating or tuning your radio on the go are examples of driving while distracted. Identify all such behaviors to avoid multitasking and remain focused until safely reached your destination.