While driving your vehicle, you experience various distractions distracting you from concentrating on your surroundings. Drivers, especially teenagers, need to ensure that they maintain sufficient hand-eye coordination while driving their motor. Distracted driving is caused due to any activity which can cause a lapse in concentration while driving. Distracting activities include texting a person while driving, talking to the co-passengers riding along with you, changing soundtracks on the stereo or even engaging with your Bluetooth device to take urgent calls.
What Types of Activities Distract While Driving?
As a driver, you can come across various difficulties and distractions while driving your motor vehicle. When you are sitting tight in your car and driving, hundreds of vehicles are approaching your lane. As an efficient driver, you need to be quick, intelligent and active to take wise decisions in microseconds to minimize the risk of accidents and damages. If you are a caring parent concerned about your child’s health and activities, talking to teens about distracted driving is necessary. On average, there are 6.4% of young teen drivers on the road, driving their vehicle, making 13.2 million of drivers’ total count. Every driver, especially young teenagers, face uncountable distractions while driving. The significant distractions which are likely to compromise your attention while driving include:
1. Visual Distractions:
Visual distractions disturb your vision and can lead to a dangerous road situation. Distractions that take the driver’s attention, eyes and focus off the road, even for microseconds can lead to dangerous incidents. Visual distractions are the most common reasons, leading to serious accidents, causing major injuries and deaths. Visual distractions include; adjusting AC fins, changing soundtrack, adjusting the rearview mirror or even searching for navigation on GPS systems. If you are driving on a freeway, and you tend to search for a signboard, it can also lead you to be distracted. Signboards need to be intelligently designed and accurately placed to minimize the risks of visual distractions. As a confident and responsible driver, you need to keep your mind on the road and ignore all incoming distractions that can cause uncertainty.
2. Auditory Distractions:
Auditory distractions include distractions that divert your sensing organs and mind when you listen to anything shocking or exciting. Incoming sounds from live TV, computers and electronic gadgets can easily distract drivers mind from driving at a steady pace. If you are riding with your baby, then his/her cries and actions can make the driver distracted, or even if you are with your pet, its noise can cause very particular auditory distractions. Our ears are very efficient enough to interpret and transmit signals to our brains so that a simple sound can cause distraction, which can affect your grip on the steering and affect your hand-eye coordination. Any incoming sounds, which are irrelevant to driving, can cause interruptions and distractions. Every driver prefers a calm, composed internal environment while driving to stay focused.
3. Manual Distractions:
Manual distractions can make you shift your sight and attention from the main road and cause an immediate accident within a few seconds. When a driver takes his hand off the steering wheel to adjust the music players knob or change a soundtrack, he is more likely to lose grip and control over his vehicle. When your hands are mobile, engaging with other activities affects your ability to grip and steer efficiently. Using mobile during driving can cause multiple distractions within microseconds. If you are getting late for work and are drinking and eating while driving, then you are self-distracting yourself from driving.
4. Cognitive Distractions:
Cognitive distractions are among the most notable reasons for distracted driving, leading to dangerous accidents. Cognitive distractions include thinking about any situation or scenarios which are completely off the track and irrelevant to driving. Most drivers keep thinking about something other than driving, which causes their mind to distract. Daydreaming and getting lost in thoughts is very common while driving; as a driver, you need to refrain from indulging in such thoughts. It is essential to concentrate on the road and other vehicles around you to avoid unwanted collisions and accidents.
Is Distracted Driving a Matter of Concern?
Multiple distractions while driving increases the chances of a motor vehicle crash. As a parent and as a responsible driver, distracted driving is indeed a matter of concern. While you are driving with your co-passengers, their wellbeing depends on how you drive and how well you can respond to immediate situations on the road. Most vehicle crashes happen due to the slightest of distractions, so it is essential to ensure that drivers drive in their proper state of mind and with complete control over their reflex actions.
According to the research in 2018, it was concluded that almost 8% of the fatal accidents were caused due to distracted driving. Every driver has a family and is responsible their life and wellbeing, so he must know the importance of safe driving without any distractions. And as co-passengers, they must ensure that they are not disturbing the person driving. It was observed that 13% of accidents that were caused by distracted driving were mainly because of using cellphones while driving. Many close calls can be observed where drivers manage to regain control of their vehicles at the last split second, but in other unfortunate incidents, drivers end up crashing their vehicles into people, other vehicles or physical objects on roads.
On average, one of the four fatal accidents is caused by driving and responding on the phone simultaneously. Parents, mentors and teachers must try to engage with their children and students regarding this issue as it can help avoid accidents caused by negligence while driving. Any sorts of distractions can cause you to deviate from your path, so it is imperative to keep a calm and cool head while driving.
If you crashed into another vehicle, it is ultimately your fault and the distractions which caused it. Drivers must remember that accidents can affect several people at a time and can prove to have fatal consequences.
How to Minimize the Use of Tech Gadgets and Mobile While Driving?
If you are attached to your mobile screen almost all the time, then you need to switch your mobile off or set it to silent mode when you get in the driving seat. Try to turn off social accounts notifications while driving, as social media accounts are the main reason for social distractions. You can even download applications that can monitor your phone usage while driving and prevent you from texting when in the driving seat. If you have a very tough schedule where you have to quickly respond to text messages and calls, you must enable voice typing features to assist you while driving. If you are travelling with your partner or co-worker, you can ask them to answer your phone rather than look it into yourself. If you are driving alone, you are advised to keep your phone out of your reach on the dashboard so that you can avoid the temptation to use it when driving.
If you love listening to music, then you must pre-plan your music library and the sequence. While driving, you must avoid changing songs from your phone or manually by the knob on the stereo. Prepare a customized playlist for your driving routine, and this would help you concentrate while driving and avoid distractions.
How to Drive Safely Without Distractions?
The driver itself is responsible for most of the distractions caused by his actions. Before driving, you must ensure that you have answered all your calls and replied to all text messages. If you carry a Bluetooth headset with you, ensure it is connected and is smoothly working. Finish your meal before you leave, so you don’t have eatables or drinks with you while you drive. When you sit in your driver’s seat, you need to ensure that you have adjusted your seat and tucked in the seat belt. If you plan to drive on a new route, then pre examine your route and deduce the best alternate routes. Ensure that your phone is synced with Bluetooth and you are connected to live GPS screens in your dashboard.
If you need to refer to the map during the way, it is advisable to find a safe and secure spot to pause and then scroll your map. Adjust your rearview mirrors and radio frequencies before you start driving. Ensure that all your loose items are in a secure spot to avoid tumbling during the drive.
If you are driving with your colleagues, friends, and family, it is better to avoid serious discussions, which may cause a fight or disturb drivers’ state of mind. It is always great to enjoy slow music while driving, but do not get so much indulged into the soundtrack that you lose control over your vehicle. If you are getting late for an office meeting or an important event, try to relax and avoid over-speeding. Over-speeding can be caused by severe anxiety, which can lead to miscalculations and increase the risk of crashing. Manage your time effectively, so you have ample time before you reach your desired destination.
While driving alone, you might feel that your mind isn’t functioning and concentrating on your driving, so it is advisable to pull over without any second thoughts. You and your body is controlling the entire vehicle, so you must be in peace of mind. Always keep your sight straight and on the road, rather than reading advertisements and deals on billboards. If you see your friend travelling in another vehicle, do not get excited and lose control over your car; stay calm and respond smoothly rather than quickly.
How to Reduce Cognitive Distractions?
Your brain is an essential working organ that controls your sight and other body movements. Your mind must be settled and relaxed while driving to avoid unwanted collisions and accidents. Cognitive distractions are most likely to be caused by overthinking and daydreaming about situations you have previously gone through or experienced. If you get frequent distractions while driving, it is advisable to consult with psychologists who can help you relax and ensure that you are in a stable state of mind before driving. If your mobile notifications make you anxious and overthink circumstances, it is better to turn your cell phone off while driving. If you search for peace of mind, listen to music, which has a soothing effect on your neurons. Cognitive distractions reduce your efficiency to drive safe and lower your human reaction time to encounter situations.
Moreover, mental distractions may lead to experiencing uncertain blindspots while driving. While driving, one should always maintain a steady brain-hand and brain-feet movement to control over speeding and keep a close watch on other vehicles passing by. If you are coming back from a tough working day and feeling tense, you must avoid driving. Always drive with a clear head, which is fully functional and active to respond.
How to Address Teenagers to Avoid Distracted Driving?
As a parent, you will always be concerned about your child’s wellbeing and safety. To ensure that your child follows all the safe habits while driving, you need to tell them about distracted driving. Ensure that he/she has friends and family waiting for them to drive back home or college. It is advisable to refrain from drinking alcohol or any liquids which can take over your mind and disintegrate its functioning ability. Most teenagers are unaware of what is distracted driving and how do they get distracted while driving. Parents and teachers must highlight the distractions which are likely to cause an unwanted crash and fatal injuries. Teenagers must never be scolded for driving late to school or home, as after being scolded, they might start to drive faster in order to escape the scold from their parents and teachers. Distracted driving is a universal issue, which needs to be addressed without hesitation. As a driver, one must understand that road accidents can result in serious property and life loss. Being attentive while driving can help avoid such incidents and it is the responsibility of every driver to ensure that they make their best effort to keep all types of distraction away while driving.