We’ve all been there… That moment you look up and hit your brakes. Your heart starts pounding out of your chest and you try to take a deep breath and relax because you just missed rear-ending the car in front of you. You think to yourself, I’ll never do that again! I’m putting my phone away and paying attention when I drive. But let’s be real with ourselves here… distracted driving and the connection to our mobile device is real and many of us cannot go that short car ride without checking on the notifications hitting our screens. So, you have a close call and it changes you for the rest of the drive? Maybe it affects you for a couple of days, or weeks, but soon you forget how you felt in that moment of narrowly escaping an accident and go back to being distracted on the road.
Some of the most common causes are:
- Talking and texting
- Adjusting music or temperature controls
- Applying makeup
- Talking to Passengers
- Handling children or pets
- Zoning out/day dreaming
Distractions don’t have to be solely related to your phone. Have you ever been deep in thought and almost missed a stop sign, or didn’t see that deer on the side of the road?
85% of Americans say that driving while using personal technology is extremely risky, yet 25% of people who say they engage in distracted driving believe they can do so safely. (source: Risk Index Survey posted on travelers.com)
If you are driving and something comes up, the best action is to pull off the road. You can also help cut down on distractions by planning ahead. Check your mirrors, secure children and pets, set up your GPS with your destination, pick the music you want to listen to and press play, set your phone to do not disturb, send a quick text to anyone that may be trying to get a hold of you that says you are about to start driving and you’ll get back with them when it is safe to do so, and secure loose objects so that you are not tempted to keep them from moving around your vehicle. All it takes is changing our mindset to be proactive instead of reactive. Seems quite simple for the most part, but yet many of us fail to think of doing these things before we hit the road. We are like the statistic above that thinks we can do these things safely.