It’s no secret that driving distracted is one of the many reasons for car accidents along the road. From texting to eating to day dreaming, there’s a host of explanations for one’s driving habits to be corrupted and put not just their safety in danger, but other drivers around them as well. Being alert behind the wheel is important not just because of safety but just general defensive driving as a whole.
Although there are many ways to rectify the problem, here are three ways to be as attentive as possible on the road.
Minimize Driving Late At Night
Whether it’s long distance night driving or just a few miles up the road in the wee hours in the morning, nighttime driving obviously reduces visibility against daytime settings. I know it’s practically impossible to keep drivers from going out at night, but when you do, take a little more care behind the wheel and always look further up ahead the road.
And factor in being drowsier than usual with nighttime drives and it can be an even stickier situation. Always, always pull over as soon as possible when you feel the slightest bit drowsy. There’s only so much coffee or energy drink to the point it loses it’s effectiveness and can, in some cases, cause you to get drowsier from the sugar crash. Best case to combat nighttime drives and long distance travels is plenty of rest and frequent stops to gather your bearings.
Break Old Habits
It’s time, now more than ever, to rid yourself of nasty old habits while driving. Things like texting and taking phone calls, eating or drinking, messing around with the radio stations, smoking, trying to stabilize the wheel with your knees while you try and do something else…they all drastically cut down your attention span and can lead to fender benders or much worse. In fact, studies have proven just how bad texting while driving really is. So much so, that just 5 seconds of focus towards that tiny screen cuts out 37% of brain activity that should be devoted fully to what’s ahead of you on the road. It’s no wonder there are so many car accidents and injuries associated with drivers who text at the same time.
It’s far and away the easiest habit to fix. Now, you don’t have to leave the phone at home, per say, but you should nix any and all use once inside the car. I’ve started putting my cell phone in the glovebox as soon as I enter or stash it in the middle console. Whatever keeps me from being tempted to use it works, and every driver should start working towards the same.
Aside from defensive driving, preparing yourself from the moment you get in the car to being on the road, following basic protocol by checking your mirrors, whether it’s adjusting the rearview mirror from night shade to daytime, looking to the sides of your car when merging for blind spots, keeping two car lengths between you and the cars ahead of you and so forth. Keeping true to the basic principles of driving and being patient behind the wheel regardless of whether it’s gridlocked rush hour traffic or few and far between can be the difference and get you to your destination safely.
Because in the end, cautious driving can keep you from avoiding costly fender benders and make the roadways a safe haven for everyone involved.
About The Author: Kyle is a freelance writer and automotive enthusiast who writes about collision repairs, car care tips, defensive driving and other car-related topics and consults for a local body shop in KC.