Safe Driving Tips: Be Distraction-Free

Updated on January 21, 2019
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Wrench Wench has been in love with automotive mechanics for decades. She loves sharing advice with fellow DIY mechs and curious cats.

Distracted Driving Is Dangerous Driving

Distracted Driving is a very big concern in most countries around the world where automobiles are the primary source of transportation. With so many people on the road every day, there are plenty of elements and situations that can create the perfect circumstances for auto accidents, without the added challenge of drivers being distracted.

All kinds of otherwise avoidable accidents can be prevented when you go out of your way to ensure you're as aware as you possibly can be while driving. Without that simple but exceptionally necessary awareness, it's way too easy to roll through a stop sign, run a red light, bump into the car in front of you, or even hit a pedestrian. By keeping up on distraction-free driving tips like these, you can literally save lives. You'll also get the added bonus of saving yourself from any unnecessary vehicle repairs, lawsuits, or injuries.

Tip 1: Keep All Devices in the Back Seat

One of the most the most effective ways you can assure you'll be free from distraction while driving is to make sure all your gadgets and devices go in the backseat or—if you can stomach it—the trunk.

This puts the most common causes of driving distraction well out of your reach. That way, when your little alerts and ringers start going off, it'll be too difficult to even attempt reaching your phone or tablet. In order to get them at all, you'll have to pull off the road and get into the backseat in order to reach them and check your notifications. And in most cases, you'll get so used to having your devices out of reach while driving that it'll be super easy to just keep on driving to your destination before even bothering to need to know who's trying to reach you.

Tip 2: Don't Trust Other Drivers

When I first started to become interested in driving, begging my dad to let me take the van for a spin again and again in some abandoned parking lot near us, my dad would always remind me, "It's not your own driving you need to worry about so much, it's everyone else's."

As I grew older and started bugging him to let me leave the empty parking lots and hit the road, even if it was just for one short block (and again later when I wanted to be able to borrow his car to take out on my own), he'd always tell me to be safe on the road. I'd tell him I'd drive especially well, and he'd always remind me, "It's not you I'm worried about, it's everyone else."

I remember these words every time I get on the road and am especially reminded of them every time I find I'm not paying strong enough attention to the road that someone almost runs me off it as they cut in front of me without waiting for me to slow down and let them in, or when I come to stop sign and am quickly ready to take off, but someone on the other side decides to rush through and not wait their turn.

In either real-life scenario, even when I'm obeying the rules of the road and generally driving safely, if I'm not being intentionally mindful of what other drivers around me are doing, I could still end up in an accident.

This is why it's ever so important to make sure you're paying attention to as much as possible while you're driving, within reason of course.

Tip 3: Practice Your "Chameleon Eyes"

Similar to Tip 2, you'll find nearly everyone will tell you that you need to "keep your eyes on the road", but I've yet to really hear anyone get more specific than that. Yes, when you're driving, you do want to pay attention to the road ahead, but there is certainly much more than you need to keep a conscious tab on than just the road ahead.

For example, if you were to only keep your eyes on the road ahead of you, you might not see the person speeding up behind you just as you're trying to merge into the lane to your left. That means you won't have those vital seconds you need to move back into your original lane and avoid that highway bomber before it's too late. Checking your rearview and side mirrors approximately every 10 seconds could mean the difference between avoiding an accident by miles and waking up in a gurney wondering how you got into a hospital room.

The only way around automotive accidents like these (which are caused by other driver's poor driving habits) is to make sure you're intentionally aware of what's going on around you. The best way to maintain that awareness is to consciously make sure you'll consistently checking your rearview mirror, side mirrors and blind spot, while also looking several cars ahead to see if traffic stops, and paying especially close attention to any cross streets, crosswalks, and cars in front of you.

I like to call this the "Chameleon Eyes" because that's what a safe driver looks like when they are actively paying attention to the road. It's one of several especially helpful driving tips that are least talked about with newer drivers; thankfully, it's not hard to understand or to develop the lifelong habit.

As time goes on, you'll find yourself thinking about everything going on around you when you're actively driving and not distracted. You're inner monologue might be noticing things like:

Did I use the turn signals back there?

Oh look! A stop sign coming up . . .

Watch out for that pedestrian who shouldn't be crossing the road up there!

Over time, you learn to develop this skill either way. You're ahead of the game if you learn it from a parent or driving teacher, or even just now while reading this article. Though even if you're not lucky enough to catch the tip ahead of time, you'll find that the road will teach you to actively pay attention to the world around your car, as you experience nutty other drivers on your own.

So, whether you're just getting out onto the road for one of the first few times, or if you've been on the road for a while and are looking to build up your ability to avoid automotive collisions and drive distraction free, this tip is for YOU. The lowered hassles from fewer accidents on the road will just be a bonus for the rest of the world.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Wrench Wench


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