Distracted Driving - Other Considerations
Ironically many of the other distractions to safe driving come with the vehicle. These would include:
- Audio systems
- GPS/Navigation systems
- Video entertainment systems
- Climate control
- Automatic transmissions (a recent study indicated that while only 3% of vehicles sold in the United States have a manual transmission, the “clutch-shift” operation demands more of the driver’s attention, resulting in fewer distracted driving situations.)
This is not a comprehensive list, as many vehicle options vary based on the manufacturers and models. The principle is still the same; distracted driving is anything that takes the driver’s attention away from full concentration on the road and operating the vehicle.
Tips to reduce distractions while on the road:
- Know the vehicle. Whether it’s a fleet vehicle or a rental car, if it isn’t your regular ride, take the time to familiarize yourself with its features and configuration.
- Plan your route. Pre-program your GPS, or mark your map before you leave. Have an idea of the route and location of your destination. If corrections have to be made, pull into a safe area and adjust the plan.
- Stay off the grid. Let people know in advance that you’ll be driving, and unable to take calls until you arrive or are taking a scheduled break.
- Feed yourself first. If it’s going to be a long journey, eat and drink before you set off, and plan meal breaks along the way.
- Gas up, and check your tires. Those annoying lights on your displace serve a purpose, but they’re often easily prevented.
- Put your passengers to work! Unless you’re travelling alone, let the other occupants of the vehicle be more than just breathing ballast, wrecking your fuel economy. Let your “shotgun” navigate, adjust the climate controls, and find a good tune (and the driver’s choice is final.)
As the numbers of vehicles on the roads increases, the need for keeping focus is more important than ever. By making basic preparations in advance, and focusing on driving, you’ll be much better prepared for the unexpected. As a driving instructor once said...
Stay alert, and Watch out for the other guy...