Distracted driving can be a serious safety risk on the road. According to NSW Transport, taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash or near crash. However, with calls coming in on your phone, email alerts, and kids yelling from the back seat, it can be hard to stay focused. In this article, we share our top tips to avoid driving distractions and improve your focus.
Top Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
What causes distracted driving?
Mobile phones are the most common distraction while driving. In fact, according to the Transport Accident Commission, 1/3rd of drivers admit to using their phone illegally when driving. That’s no surprise, since many of us use our mobiles for phone call, texts, emails, GPS, music, and more. The problem is so widespread that hands-on mobile phone use is illegal in most states of Australia.
However, car distractions aren’t just limited to our mobile phones. GPS devices, food and drink, passengers, pets, and demands from the kids in the back seat can all distract you while driving. Even turning down the AC, or flicking through a playlist to find your favourite song, can take your eyes dangerously off the road.
As tempting as it may be, giving in to driving distractions can significantly increase your risk of a crash. In fact, inattention caused 18% of Australian road accidents in 2016. According to the Transport Accident Commission, drivers are 10 times more likely to crash if they are texting, browsing or emailing on their mobile phones. However, with a few simple adjustments to your daily driving, you can reduce car distractions, and drive more safely.
Tip 1: Minimise mobile phone use
Driving with your mobile phone in your hand or touching your body is illegal in most parts of Australia. However, even if you do have a hands-free setup, or even the convenience of Mitsubishi’s Smartphone Link Display Audio (SDA) technology, you still need to be conscious of the distraction your mobile can create while driving.
If possible, set your phone to do not disturb during your drive. If you need to touch your mobile for any reason, whether to set your GPS, change the music, or other reason, it’s safer to do this before you start driving. You can also ask passengers to make the change, or if you drive a new Mitsubishi, use the voice commands on your SDA.
Tip 2: Keep the kids comfortable and entertained
If your kids are bored or not sitting properly, it won’t be long before you’ll hear them calling from the back seat. Make sure your kids are properly buckled in before you start in a seat appropriate for their age. On a longer trip, it’s also smart to give them an activity to focus on, so your attention can stay on the road. Get some ideas with our tips on how to keep your kids entertained on a road trip.
Tip 3: Don’t eat or drink while driving
It may seem innocuous, but eating or drinking can cause you to take your hand off the wheel, and your attention off the road. In fact, food and drink is one of the most common driving distractions, and can be dangerous.
Tip 4: Tell passengers when you need to concentrate
No one wants to interrupt a conversation, but it can help to tell the people in your car if they are distracting you. Your passengers want you to concentrate on the road too! They may just not realise when you need extra focus.
Tip 5: Keep pets secured
Your pets don’t understand that you need to concentrate, so it’s important to keep them properly comfortable and restrained. A proper pet restraint can not only save your life, but also theirs. You can use a pet harness and anchor, or a well-secured carrier to keep your pets safe.
Tip 6: If you can’t focus, stop
Sometimes, distractions arise that we just can’t ignore. If you see an important incoming call, your children need attention, or you really need a bite to eat, pull over and deal with the distraction when stopped. Make sure you’re able to give the road your full attention before you pull out.