According to the NHTSA and CDC approximately 3,000 die every year as a result of distracted driving. Generally, there are three types of driving distractions: Visual, Physical, and Cognitive.
Visual - Eyes off the road: A visual distraction can be anything that takes your eyes off the road ahead and can include looking at your speed, mirrors, or road signs.
Physical - Hands off the wheel: A physical distraction is something that removes one or two hands off the wheel, such as changing temperature controls, shifting gears, or scratching an itch on your head.
Cognitive - Mind off the driving task: A cognitive distraction is anything that takes your mind off the driving task. A cognitive distraction can bethinking about your next load or thinking about tasks you need to do at home or work.
Distractions while driving are common and can be un-avoidable. In fact, it simply isn’t practical to only look at the road ahead. Drivers should look at gauges, mirrors, and controls during their journey in order to follow the law and share the road with other road users. One of the keys of defensive driving is to look around.
Since distractions are un-avoidable, one key to reducing risk is to manage when you should conduct distracting behaviors. Setting yourself for success is key to avoiding distractions that can lead to a sudden emergency or an accident. The following pro tips can help you avoid distractions and reduce the risk of an accident or sudden emergency.
At some point we have experienced some type of distraction while we drive. Below are some pro tips to help you manage and reduce distractions while driving.
- Set radio, temperature controls, mirrors, and seat positions prior to starting your trip
- Set phones to Do Not Disturb while driving if you can't connect to a Bluetooth device
- Avoid complicated phone conversations
- Pre-plan your anticipated route
- Look around and avoid fixed stares. If you need to read road signs, etc, avoid staring off the travel path
- Leave room when circumstances require to avoid sudden emergencies
- Look as far as you can ahead to anticipated changing traffic conditions