A woman safely drives a car with two hands on the steering wheel on her morning commute

Distracted Driving Awareness Month: 7 Tips for Staying Safe

A woman safely drives a car with two hands on the steering wheel on her morning commute

Distracted Driving Awareness Month: 7 Tips for Staying Safe

If you want to stay safe behind the wheel and banish distractions once and for all, read this helpful guide to start driving distraction-free.

Distracted driving is a risk not worth taking – but if you need any convincing, read these 6 alarming facts. With that said, in our society of perpetual distractions, nobody is immune. So here are some helpful ways to help you stay in the clear.

There’s an app for that.

There’s an app for everything, but an app for avoiding distractions could be a lifesaver. Using phones while driving has become quite the epidemic and as such, tech developers have come to the table. We know we shouldn’t do it but sometimes, inexplicably, we just do. So why not install an app that can block texts and calls, give rewards for safe driving and send automatic safe arrival notifications? The DMV keeps a running list of handy apps here.

Banish your distractions to the back seat.

Again, it’s easy to become complacent. Sometimes we humans need to stop ourselves from getting in our own way. Try putting your cell, work files and any other tempting distractions in the back seat so you don’t even have the option to reach for them.

A man drives dangerously while holding a coffee cup in one hand and a breakfast sanwich in the other in traffic during rush hour.
Source: Shutterstock

Eating isn’t as harmless as it seems. Be clever about snacking.

Eating distracts from your manual, visual and cognitive skills while you’re driving. That’s a fact. But if you must snack, pick smart foods. Nothing messy, nothing that involves complicated handling. Keep it simple so your brain can keep its focus where it’s needed the most: on the road.

Plan your trip before you hit the accelerator.

Wrangling a GPS system while driving is as bad as texting while driving. Take care of this before you get moving. Same with your seat and mirror position, unwanted sweaters, music or podcast choices; make sure that by the time you hit the road, all that’s required of you is to drive.

Get up earlier to groom yourself.

The rear-view mirror is for road safety, not for completing your morning face routine. As tempting as it is to put on makeup in the car in a time crunch, it’s a killer distraction that can easily be avoided. Easy if you remember the consequences, that is.

A man uses a smartphone while driving a car during the daytime.
Source: Shutterstock

There’s always time to pull over.

If an emergency strikes and you simply must use your cell phone or other device, just stop. If it’s not important enough to stop, it’s probably not important enough to use your device while you’re driving. Pull-over spots are specifically designed for this, so you might as well make use of them.

Remind yourself that emotional distraction is real.

It’s not always possible to avoid emotional mind-wandering. Again, we’re humans, and that means by nature we’re easily distracted. So, try mitigating this risk as much as possible. When you get behind the wheel, take a few deep breaths and do what it takes to put emotional stresses on pause. If you can’t, don’t drive.

Ready to commit to driving distraction-free? Take the National Safety’s Council’s pledge to drive cell phone free here.