Avoiding Distraction & Driving Safe

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 25% of all police-reported traffic accidents can be blamed, in part, on driver distraction. Read on for tips about driving safely, avoiding distractions, and minimizing your chances of a traffic accident.

Recent advances in technology have led to an increase in distraction-related traffic accidents, as drivers have begun using devices such as cell phones and iPods while driving.

Many states have enacted laws regarding the use of electronic devices such as cell phones while driving, and legislation is pending in many more places. Still, it is up to us as individuals to make conscious, responsible decisions to limit distractions and stay safe on the road.

Cell Phone Safety

The safety of cell phone use while driving is a hot topic. Proponents of stricter cell phone legislation argue that the physical handling of a phone, such as texting or making calls, is the most dangerous distraction. Others believe that it’s when drivers are engaged in conversation that the real problem occurs, causing a rise in hands-free devices, such as the Bluetooth.

It will be some time before ongoing research is able to draw the appropriate conclusions. In the meantime, it’s our own responsibility to police ourselves and act responsibly behind the wheel.

For millions of people, having a cell phone with them at all times is an absolute necessity. While taking a cell phone in the car can be a lifesaver in emergency situations, it can also pose a serious risk when drivers become careless and caught up in other things while on the road.

Whether chatting teenagers or businessmen and women continuing their office activity, carrying on conversations while driving is never recommended, unless absolutely necessary. It’s up to us to use our own discretion as to when it is and is not necessary to be on the phone while driving.

Before making a call while on the road, it’s important to ask yourself whether making the phone call right then absolutely imperative, or if can it wait until you’ve reached your destination. For those times when you must make a call while driving, keep conversations to a minimum. Also consider the use of a hands-free device or investigate the voice prompt capability on your phone, which allows you to make and receive calls using only your voice, minimizing distraction.

Remember, ongoing research suggests that it’s not just the physical act of handling the phone that causes drivers to be distracted, but also the conversation itself.

iPod Safety

Millions of Americans have made listening to music while driving a habit. From the time we started driving, we’ve been popping CDs into the stereo or cranking up the radio. But as technology advances, we can do much more than just listen to music. Just like cell phones have more capabilities than simply playing music.

Most of us have driven with our favorite tunes since we first learned to drive, so driving with music playing is certainly nothing new. However, as technology advances, we’re able to do much more than listen to music. With the growing popularity of iPods and other MP3 players, we now have access to videos, photos, and entire playlists, right in the palm of our hands.

But whether fooling around with the gadget itself, or getting caught up in content, iPod use while on the road is an accident waiting to happen. Be sure to never use ear buds while driving, as they can easily prevent you from hearing important sounds on the road and make you a less-alert driver. Many devices are available to sync your iPod with the radio, so consider using one of these to choose your playlists while in the car, and always do so before you begin driving.