In the age of the smartphones and fast food, it seems like everything is a potential distraction. Even the most cautious drivers can get sidetracked by a notification chirp or an errant bonus fry (Jim Gaffigan fans?). With restaurants literally having a drive-thru window, how are we supposed to be expected to pay attention to the road 100% of the time?
Fortunately, there are a few best practices for preventing distracted driving. If you promise that you’re not reading this on your phone when you’re behind the wheel, we’ll clue you in on our best tips for deterring distracted driving – they’re easy, we promise!
1. Make adjustments before putting the car in Drive. This includes the seat position, rearview mirror, side mirrors, seat belt, and steering wheel adjustments. This also includes deciding on your route and inputting it into your phone or GPS before ever putting your foot on the gas.
2. Finish getting dressed and putting on your makeup before leaving the house. Besides just being courteous to others who may see you in your half-dressed state, you’ll also reduce your chances of getting into an accident while applying that final swipe of lipstick.
3. Secure children and pets before leaving. By making sure your passengers are securely fastened in, you limit the amount of times you might need to reach into the backseat – and potentially causing a car accident.
4. Avoid eating and driving. We know this one is tough. If you must eat and drive, be sure to pick something that will be easy to hold and eat with one hand – and nothing that will cause a mess, because you might be tempted to clean it up while driving.
5. Only use your cell phone in an emergency. There’s a reason that many states have outlawed texting/talking and driving – it’s extremely distracting. In addition to being ticketed and fined, you may risk your life or others’ lives by engaging your phone while driving (this includes checking email, social media, etc.). Only use your cell if it’s an emergency, and even then it’s best to pull off to the side of the road.
6. If you’re drowsy, pull over. Did you know that drowsiness increases the chances of getting into a crash by nearly 4 times? A government study showed that 37 percent of U.S. drivers have nodded off or actually fallen asleep at least once during their driving careers. If you feel tired, get off the road; don’t try to floor it to get home faster.
7. Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle. Most states’ driver licensing laws prohibit teens from having teenage passengers in the car with them during their early months of driving solo – and for good reason. Driving with friends (whether you’re a new or experienced driver) can create a distracting driving environment because you’ll be focused on your friends rather than the road.
See, didn’t we say that they were easy? Follow these simple guidelines for deterring distracted driving and you’ll be a safer driver, both for yourself and others on the road. As always, be sure to get a quick free quote from Metromile to see how much you could be saving by making the switch! Be safe and see you out there!
Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink.