How to Avoid Driver Distractions
Are you aware that one-quarter of every traffic accident that is reported to the police is completely or partially caused by a driver distraction? There are various accident-causing distractions. However, cell phones and more recently media players such as iPods have caused a greater number of motor vehicle accidents. This is why some states currently have laws that prohibit drivers from using cell phones while they are driving. Regardless of the particular laws in your state, it’s important to avoid driver distractions whenever possible so you can stay safe on the road.
The debate over whether drivers should be able to use cell phones when driving remains heated. Certain advocates argue that it is only when a driver is actually searching for a telephone number, dialing or physically picking or hanging up the phone that increases the likelihood of an accident. They believe much of the hype concerning accidents caused by cell phones that is spread in the newspapers, Internet and television programs is untrue. On the other hand, there are just as many concerned individuals who strongly believe that the mere act of conversing with another individual on a cell phone can cause an accident while driving. This group of people is fighting to change the cell phone legislation that allows drivers to use hands-free cell phones while driving.
It is unlikely that the issue will be resolved in the near future. However, a greater number of states have decided to introduce legislation and create new laws concerning cell phone use while driving. As research studies continue, it is necessary for every driver to remain vigilant while behind the wheel and try to avoid any dangerous distractions. Just as you buckle your seatbelt as soon as you enter your vehicle, you must be very careful if you choose to use a cell phone when driving.
Many individuals consider a cell phone much more than merely a luxury item; they feel it is just as important as car keys. To be fair, cell phones have saved many people’s lives by enabling stranded or injured individuals to call for immediate assistance, regardless of their location. Many drivers have a cell phone in their vehicle solely in case of an emergency. The cell phone is a very convenient device that can also provide added security while driving.
When you think of driver cell phone use, you may automatically conjure up images of young teenagers chatting with friends while behind the wheel. However, the reality is that many business people use cell phones to make important decisions, negotiate lucrative deals and manage their corporate life while they are on the road. You may use a cell phone in your car to verify your bank account balance, cancel an appointment or check in with your family members. Unfortunately, just one short cell phone call can distract you enough to cause a serious accident. Until laws are passed in every state banning cell phone use while driving, it is up to each of us to exercise caution with these devices when behind the wheel. You can start by purchasing a hands-free device that is less distracting. Another option is to make better use of automatic voice dialing and pick up so you won’t have to physically handle the phone when driving.
More importantly, you should limit the number of phone calls you make while behind the wheel. Before you place a call, ask yourself if the conversation can take place as soon as you get home. For necessary calls, keep them as short as possible and try to remain focused on the road. Try to schedule important calls for time periods when you know you won’t be driving. It’s important to remember that research has proven that an engaging cell phone conversation can distract a driver enough to cause a serious accident.
iPods & Other Media Devices
Driving while listening to your favorite music is certainly not a new concept. The difference is that currently technology enables drivers to interact, rather than merely listen to tunes. In the same way that cell phones can be used for so much more than a simple conversation, media devices such as iPods enable users to complete a huge variety of tasks. With the new electronic devices becoming more sophisticated and permitting larger storage of files, drivers can easily become distracted. Now, you can listen to songs, play games, check the latest stock prices or watch full-length videos anywhere, including your car. That’s why you need to treat iPods and other media devices with caution when driving.
Many iPod users become distracted by the content of the device or by physically using it. Therefore, you should never use any type of ear or headphones when you are driving. You need to be able to hear everything that is going on around you; just one second could destroy your life or the lives of many others on the road. One option is to hook your iPod or media device to your car stereo. There are many inexpensive devices that enable you to enjoy full sound from your car’s stereo system so you don’t need to use dangerous earphones.
Another important tip is to decide on the music you want to listen to before you start to drive instead of fumbling around switching channels. Doing so means you will be taking your eyes off the road which can prove to be a deadly decision. Set up playlists of your favorite tunes or download audio books beforehand so you can enjoy them safely once you are heading to your destination. Also resist the temptation to bring along videos as you can’t possibly give your full attention to the road when you are watching, even if it’s only for a second or two. If you exercise caution when using cell phones, iPods or any other device while driving, you can do your part to reduce the number of driver distraction-related accidents.