Avoiding becoming distracted when you’re driving sounds simple, but a significant number of people struggle with it. It’s sometimes not as easy as saying “don’t do X” or the “law says you shouldn’t do Y” because people still get distracted – despite knowing this information.
What people need is a method to avoid distraction, ways to remove the temptation before it happens. With that in mind, here are some easy to follow tips to avoid distraction when driving:
1. Keep your mobile phone out of reach
Saying “don’t look at your phone while driving” just isn’t good enough. If you’re prone to being distracted by a text message or a Tweet, then having your phone within reach is asking for trouble. Instead, put it somewhere out of reach. This way, even if you feel the temptation, you can’t physically act on it.
If you don’t trust yourself to take this extra step or fear you’ll forget, ask a passenger to help you enforce it on yourself. This way, they’ll remind you when it’s time to hand over your phone and let you know if something significant happens while you’re driving.
Passengers aren’t always available but allocating this task to a spouse or partner and they’ll also be able to frequently remind you, even if they are not coming on the journey with you.
2. Get enough sleep
Simply telling someone not to drive while tired is useless advice. People need to drive when going about their daily lives, such as going to work or picking up their children from school. These are not things we can avoid. If we’re tired, we need to identify why we are, then fix that issue.
If it’s a one-off on a journey, then pull over and rest for a while. Order a coffee, a sugary snack, or get some fresh air. In cases of extreme tiredness, book a hotel room at the service station or have a nap in your car (providing you’re somewhere safe).
But if your tiredness is a recurring issue, it may be due to dietary reasons or a lack of sleep. Try to identify the problem, visit your GP if need be, and take steps to overcome it. This will make you a safer and less distracted driver in the long run.
3. Limit or be more selective with your passengers
Do you often drive with a carload of rowdy friends or kids who frequently distract you? You may not be able to avoid this, but you can take steps to fix the issue. If you’re the designated driver for your work car-pool, and someone often distracts you while driving, ask them to be quiet when you need to concentrate.
Don’t get drawn into conversations that are all-consuming, such as a politically charged debate or something that raises your emotional state. This can easily cause a distraction when driving. Always make sure your primary focus is the road, not a conversation.
If it’s children in the back seat that are distracting you, ask them to be a bit quieter and explain to them why this is important.
4. Plan your route
You have a sat-nav, you tell yourself, so everything will be fine. But then it isn’t; something goes wrong, then you find yourself fiddling with your GPS while going 70mph and swerving between motorway lanes. If this sounds familiar, then make more of an effort to plan your route.
Or pull over and adjust your sat-nav then if you must. But spending some time planning your route online before a big journey is always helpful. Even if you just make a mental note of the main points. This will prevent you from panicking and getting distracted while you drive.
5. Get organised!
We all find ourselves running late every now and then, have you ever taken your morning coffee into the car with you or that slice of toast? We know we shouldn’t do this but the pressures of everyday life have a habit of catching up with us.
The problem here could be organisation. We may need to get up a bit earlier. By working on our timekeeping skills, we can stay organised and not take any unnecessary risks behind the wheel.
6. Install Telematics Software
Installing telematics software like LoopMatics by Bluesona into your car records your habits and personal driving details. It can also save you money on your insurance premiums. The main advantage of this software is it allows you to see what you’re doing well and where you need improvement. It’s a great way of identifying what’s causing a distraction behind the wheel, which then allows you to commit to changing it. This software really is the future of driving safely.