There are several types of distracted driving, all grouped into four categories. They are manual, visual, cognitive, and combined distractions.
All four contribute to several road rage cases in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 280,000 road injury cases result from distracted driving annually. And it has also led to some fatalities. On that note, here are some tips to reduce your risks as you continue to be a confident driver.
The act of defensive driving stems from the belief that when drivers take it upon themselves to brace up for any road eventuality, there is less risk of an accident. Indeed, this could be true to some extent, especially because there is more focus on effective planning and anticipating hazards on the road. It is more like knowing you have an enemy and preparing for any attack, regardless of the time. According to the US standard practice for vehicle handling, defensive driving is the deliberate attention to saving other lives, time, and financial resources while on the road.
Fortunately, you can do this with simple acts. For example, it is advisable to clear your car windows and windshields of debris, ice, or frost. Additionally, always consider presetting your vehicle’s temperature controls before driving off. When you finally set off, it helps to be mindful of the distance between you and the car directly ahead. This ensures ample braking distance should anything untoward happen that requires stopping abruptly.
Eat before and after driving
While it is not illegal to eat or drink while driving, it is classified as multitasking, which may not be a good idea on the road since it can contribute to distracted driving. For example, if you spill a drink or food on your clothes, your immediate reaction might be to flinch. In the process of flinching, you could move into the lane of an oncoming vehicle and cause an accident. In this case, you may have to hire a car accident lawyer.
Plan your route with consideration for interruptions
The reason experts advocate for planning driving routes is largely to anticipate and avoid traffic congestion. However, few people recognize another vital reason. Planning your route before setting off allows the driver to effectively select suitable stops should the car break down. More importantly, it allows you to plan where to stop to respond to important calls or text messages you might have received when driving.
Without a doubt, driving requires your undivided attention. For this reason, combining phone calls or texting with being on the road can increase your risk of a car accident. What you can do is to put your phone on silent while you drive until you arrive at a convenient parking place. At this point, you can then review all your missed calls and messages while responding to those that need immediate attention. While the debate on using hands-free phone tools is still active, you still need to focus all your attention on the road.