Where should you mostly be looking when driving a car? Obviously, it is not inside your vehicle. Your eyes should be on the road most of the time. Any activity within your vehicle that unnecessarily takes your attention away from safely operating the car is a distraction.
Sadly, distracted driving is on the rise, not decline, thanks to technology and the gadgets it brings forth. In-car distraction significantly contributes towards fatal car crashes.
The only cure for in-car distractions is for you to focus your attention on driving or remove from the car anything that is not essential for driving but which can be a distraction.
So, which are the most common in-car distractions you should beware of and watch out for while driving?
1. Hey Emma, See You at the Party in 30 Min!
It is easy to justify why you need to have your cell phone with you when you drive: you can quickly call or text your loved ones and friends in case of an accident or whatever they need to know fast.
The irony is that it’s that same cell phone that can cause the accident you seem so intent to broadcast. Also, remember that if it’s a fatal accident, you may not be available in the aftermath to inform your loved ones.
If you must have your cell phone, turn it off or on silent/flight mode. Avoid texting or making a call while driving. Some drivers go as far as participating in online video conferences/meetings while driving!
Using a cell phone is so tempting, considering the goodies it always has in store: games, emails, photo gallery, camera, social media notifications, news updates, and so much more.
Additionally, remember that holding your cell phone can itself be a distraction even if you are not using it.
It would be best to have your empty hands for the steering wheel for you to be safe, especially along bends and sharp corners. Texting and driving is prevalent among kids, so teach your children not to text while driving.
2. What Time Did He Come Back Last Night?
It’s somewhat normal to have a chit chat with a passenger seated beside you as you drive. But it becomes a distraction when the small talk takes much of your attention.
We are social beings by nature, so you wouldn’t find it hard to find something to talk about: last night’s unexpected soccer results, politics, tough economy, relationships, neighborhood gossips, in-laws, etc.
At some point, you may want to laugh heartily in reaction to a joke, turning your happy face to the passenger for a second, but just when you should be watching out more keenly.
Whenever you feel the in-car conversation is a distraction, politely ask your passenger(s) to keep quiet. Remind them their safety is in your hands.
3. Where’s the Goddamn Lighter?
Smoking causes a slow death, say health experts. But smoking can also lead to a swift end.
To smoke while driving, you need to engage one hand either in holding the smoke or fumbling to get lighter.
If you must smoke while driving, at least light things before you hit the road. Better still: quit smoking.
4. What’s this Place?
At one time, you have probably found yourself driving to a location you have never been to before, so you have to rely on a GPS device for directions.
A GPS gadget is indeed helpful, but it can be a distraction if you consult it more than you concentrate on the road.
If you have to use a GPS device, go for the removable one you can place right before you where you can see it without having to turn your head. Better still, have with you a passenger to read the GPS for you.
5. How about a Red Lipstick before I Get to the Office?
Sure, self care is paramount, even in the car. But, for God’s sake, do it beforehand.
Ladies are not throwing away their make-ups anytime soon, so we just have to learn to live with it.
You have undoubtedly seen a lady driver applying lipstick or fixing her hair while on the wheel.
Some men are known to shave or brush their teeth while driving! Only Mr. Bean gets away easily without a scathe with such distracting habits.
Whether you are late to work or wherever, kindly get done with self-care and grooming before entering the car, for you could be grooming yourself for the hospital or mortuary.
6. I’m Running for the Presidency!
Daydreaming happens more often than you think, and at the oddest of times, including when driving!
Sometimes, a thought leads to another, and soon you win a jackpot and start dating the most beautiful/handsome creature in the world. Then you are living in a castle.
You have repaid all your debts and invested in the shipping business.
You are also running for the presidency.
You are currently in a private jet…
No, the reality is that you are driving a car while daydreaming. You could be carried so far away to the point you cause an accident.
Other times it’s you thinking about a thousand ways to hurt your employer without putting yourself into trouble with the law. If you daydream a lot, control it.
7. Let’s Replay Dua Lipa’s Levitating
When behind the wheel, the temptation to change the radio channel, increase the volume, replay your favorite song, or even dance to it, can be difficult to overcome.
You may have a radio program you never want to miss regardless of where you are, but remember not to be controlled by the radio as you control the car.
Stretching your hand to change the channel or adjust the volume might take 3 seconds but long enough to cause you to swerve off the road.
It’s not always about the radio but also music. You want to skip a song, or replay another.
Some cars have tiny TVs installed on the dashboards. All these are potential distractions.
8. Hey Daisy, What Are You Doin’ on the Dashboard?
It’s not uncommon to see pets on the dashboard.
It is cool to travel with your cat or dog. They too need to get away from home once in a while.
But they can become a distraction in your car, wanting to move around in the course of the journey.
A cat or dog seated on the dashboard would attract your attention if she plays there.
If you are likely to be distracted by pets, avoid traveling with them for your safety. This is not the time to lovingly caress your pet.
It would help if you instituted a Safety First policy while driving. Pull over by the roadside if you have to use your cell phone. Do not drive when you are too excited or too sad.
Pierre Paul is arguably the best driving school in New York City. It is located in Brooklyn. You can contact us today if you plan to join a driving school.