More than 40,000 Americans died on the roads in 2016, the most significant increase in deaths over a two-year period in more than 50 years. Whether someone you love has been known to text and drive, or you have found yourself distracted behind the wheel, these tips can help avoid dangerous activity on the road.
- Stow your phone. Turning off the phone and putting it in “do not disturb” mode can help remove the temptation to browse online at a red light or respond right away to a text message.
- Vow not to multi-task. Anything that occupies your mind or vision can be a distraction behind the wheel. Make time at home to eat meals or put on makeup, so you can focus on the road.
- Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting family members and friends when you know they are driving to avoid distracting them.
- Talk to your employer. Responding to texts 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.
- Keep kids and pets safe. Make sure kids are in proper car seats and that pets stay secured in their zone in the back of your vehicle. It can also help reduce distractions if pets are not roaming about the car.
- Set a good example. Parents can model good behavior for their children by demonstrating attentive driving. Avoid texting, eating, grooming or calling someone while behind the wheel.
- Plan your route before you go. Programming your navigation system while you drive can take your eyes off the road. It’s better to ask a passenger to do it or to enter your destination before you leave home.
- Speak up. If you see someone texting or otherwise 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.
- Set rules of the road. Consider restricting the number of passengers until your teen or new driver gains experience behind the wheel.
- Avoiding reaching. Resist the urge to reach for items if they fall while driving.
Taking your eyes off the road to search for an item can make you more likely to have an accident.
Share these tips to help keep others safe. For more on ways to reduce distracted driving, check out Every Second Matters, Travelers’ conversation starter on reducing distracted driving risk.