Posted by andrewt
Smartphones and other electronic mobile devices may have increased the number of distracted driving temptations greatly, leading to todayâ€™s young drivers being faced with distractions most of us would never have imagined when we first started to drive. However, distracted driving was still an issue even before every driver had a phone in the car.
We may not have referred to it as distracted driving in those days but here are seven tips that were just as relevant before mobile phones and are just as important today.
It might be obvious that passengers who are messing about or being noisy in the car are distracting, but even everyday exchanges with passengers can result in losing concentration and taking eyes off the road. New Scientist magazine recently published a study demonstrating that drivers with passengers in their vehicle were 60 percent more likely to be involved in a crash requiring hospitalisation.
Attention to the road should always be a priority over attention to conversation when driving.
Although these controls are usually part of the car itself and adjusting them may seem harmless, using them when driving creates Â distractions the same as anything else that takes attention off the road. All drivers should avoid adjusting even mundane controls such as heating until the car is stationary.
Okay, so we didnâ€™t even use that phrase back in the day, but we know what it means now so remember that distractions outside the vehicle are just as hazardous as those inside. If thereâ€™s an accident or something unusual on the road avoid the temptation to rubberneck as you pass it and try and keep youâ€™re your eyes on the road ahead. Ironically, taking your eyes off the road, even if it is only for a brief moment, increases your risk of a collision that can make your own wrecked car the object of â€˜rubberneckingâ€™.
Except when changing gears or using a turn signal, you should make a habit of always keeping two hands on the steering wheel. Avoiding distractions soon becomes second nature to drivers who practice this good habit. When you have both hands firmly on the steering wheel, your attention is focused to the front, rather than to one side or another, which also encourages you to pay attention to the road ahead.
Keeping your hands at 9 and 3 (which is a change from the 10 and 2 position that we were taught as it is considered not only to provide extra stability but also greater safety should the airbag deploy), means that you donâ€™t have a â€œfree handâ€ to check your phone or fiddle with the controls, or have a quick drink or snack, or anything else for that matter.
The behaviour of pets in cars can be unpredictable so they should always be contained or restrained when driving â€“ both for their own safety and for yours and other passengers. Pet crates, carriers and even pet seatbelts are great ways to control them in cars, and pets should always be kept out of the front passenger seat and never on the driverâ€™s lap.
6. STAY FOCUSSED! AVOID DAYDEAMING WHEN DRIVING.
Drivers who let their mind wander elsewhere can be distracted, even those who donâ€™t take their eyes off the road. How many times have you been driving and realised that you couldnâ€™t remember how you got to where you are? Daydreaming, or just getting lost in thought leads to inattention known as cognitive distraction and drivers who are distracted cognitively can exhibit dangerous behaviours like driving unaware through a red light, even though their eyes are pointing at the road ahead.
â€˜Donâ€™t groom and driveâ€™ isnâ€™t a catchy slogan, but those who do try to do so while they are driving do neither task well. At best, they are likely to stick a comb in their eye, at worst, they are liable to crash or cause an accident. If you must apply make-up or groom yourself in the car, make sure that you do it only when you are safely parked.
Along with texting and driving, these activities fall under the umbrella of â€œdistracted drivingâ€ which contributes to thousands of deaths every year. All drivers should always be mindful of avoiding any distraction that leads to their hands leaving the steering wheel or their mind or eyes wandering from the road.