Material Excerpted From: Travelers Institute – Distracted Driving
Any activity that diverts your attention away from the main task of driving your vehicle is distracted driving. It is dangerous and common. Cellphones and texting are just part of the problem. Other behaviors behind the wheel, such as drinking coffee or using an in-car entertainment system, also put you at risk
Ten Steps to Help Combat Distracted Driving
1. Adopt a professional driver’s mindset – Hands on wheel, eyes on road, mind on driving.
2. Encourage others to drive safely – Talk about the importance of safe driving with friends, family and co-workers.
3. Activate do not disturb – Set your phone to detect when you’re driving and automatically turn on Do Not Disturb. Or manually set it before you start driving to avoid getting distracted with notifications.
4. Plan your route before you go – Program your navigation system and review your route before you drive to help you avoid taking your eyes off the road.
5. Avoid reaching for objects – Resist the urge to reach for items in the backseat or elsewhere, or those that may have fallen while driving.
6. Lead by example – Model safe driving behaviors for fellow drivers and riders in your vehicle. If you are a manager, reinforce safe behavior by not calling or texting employees when they are driving.
7. Don’t be a distraction – Avoid calling or texting fellow employees, family members and friends when you know they are driving to avoid distracting them.
8. Speak up – If you see someone driving while distracted, say something, and let them know that you are not comfortable with that behavior. Encourage your children to do the same when they are passengers in a friend’s car. It could save a life.
9. Talk to your employer – Responding to texts and emails or taking calls for work while driving can be dangerous. Encourage your employer to have a distracted driving policy that includes waiting to talk with employees until they are safely parked.
10. Get feedback on your driving – Consider enrolling in a telematics program that provides feedback on your driving performance and incentivizes safer driving.
Sometimes, it is not your actions as a driver that lead to dangerous situations, but the actions of others. As a driver, you can proactively protect yourself and your family, as well as others that share roadways.
Assume you are invisible. It can be easy to assume everyone else on the road is paying attention, following traffic laws and can see you clearly. However, that is not always the case. The next time you are expecting other drivers to respect your right of way or let you merge into another lane, do not assume they are paying attention.
Avoid aggressive driving. Whenever you are on the road, resist the urge to drive aggressively. Obey all traffic laws, avoid unnecessarily switching lanes or passing fellow motorists and drive defensively. See yourself as part of a community of drivers – all trying to get to your destinations safely. Your improved driving behavior may rub off on others and help create safer conditions for everyone on the road.
Control your emotions. Taking the high road emotionally is the best option. Remember to be patient, keep a safe following distance and avoid confronting aggressive drivers. Ideas for becoming a proactive driver
Lead by example. Changing social norms around distracted driving starts with good drivers setting positive examples for others about what is, and what is not, acceptable behavior on the road. When you’re a passenger, speak up about any dangerous distracted driving behaviors you witness. Drivers can set expectations for their friends and family, passengers can speak up to distracted drivers, and everyone can avoid calling or texting when a loved one is behind the wheel.
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