On the road, everything can go smoothly until, suddenly, it does not. A second’s distraction at a crucial moment can turn a routine Florida commute into a nightmare.
While you cannot always guarantee yourself a distraction-free trip, you can take steps to eliminate voluntary distractions and to minimize the effect of the dangers of distracted driving. Advance planning can go a long way towards making your commute safer. While avoiding texting and other electronics use heads the list, there are several other common types of distractions to avoid.
Focusing on driving
Many drivers become distracted through trying to multitask while at the wheel. Reducing the temptation or perceived need to do something else while driving can help you avoid occupying your hands and mind with outside tasks. Consider these dangers of distracted driving:
Eat before you go to avoid handling snacks and drinks while driving. Though this can seem like a mindless task with minimal distraction potential, it might surprise you how much of your attention it actually takes up. Plus, spilling liquid or dropping your snacks can considerably increase the level of distraction. If you are on a long trip, plan stops for eating and bathroom breaks.
Likewise, take care of any grooming necessities before leaving home. Putting on your makeup in the car, even if you happen to be at a stop sign or red light at the moment, can cause you to miss important cues.
Fiddling with the settings
Figuring out your vehicle systems before getting on the road can save you the necessity of doing so while driving. Make sure your mirror, seat and other settings are in optimal position before you start. If you will use a GPS, input the route and check traffic conditions. Turning on voice directions will help you avoid looking at the map.
Dealing with kids and pets
If you travel with children or pets, you can expect additional distractions from them. While you cannot eliminate all of them, having a plan can help you address them better. Secure them properly and have snacks or entertainment within easy reach. Do not turn around to hand over items or resolve conflicts; listening to an argument is unpleasant yet safer than trying to deal with it on the road.
The more you’re aware of the dangers of distracted driving, the safer you’ll be on Florida’s highways.