Here at Subaru of Niagara, we want you to stay safe, especially while driving. We've gone on about the safety that our vehicles provide, but now it’s time to talk about the safety you can ensure while driving. When distracted, a driver's judgment is compromised because they are not focused on the road. Distracted driving can be just as deadly as drunk driving: either way, you are impaired.
Distracted driving is defined as talking on a cell phone, texting or typing of any kind, reading, using a GPS, watching movies or videos, eating/drinking, smoking, personal grooming, adjusting the radio/CD and playing extremely loud music. Driving while fatigued (physically and/or mentally) and even talking to a passenger can be types of distracted driving.
Distracted driving can lead to:
- Reduced reaction time
- Impaired judgment
- Possibly falling asleep
- Injuring or killing yourself, your passengers and/or others
How to Avoid Distracted Driving
Eat and drink before you get in the car. This should be avoided as much as possible, but if you simply can't wait until you are at your destination, wait until you are at a stoplight.
Turnoff your cell phone or put it away. Keeping your cell phone out of view will help to reduce the temptation of checking it. If there is a chance of a phone call, use a hands-free option like Bluetooth, which should be set up while not driving.
Pre-program radio stations, fill your CD deck, or select your playlist before you start driving. Remember that your music should never be so loud that you can't hear a siren or screech of tires from another car.
Prepare children for a long car ride. Kids can get restless pretty quickly on long road trips, heck sometimes even on short ones. By keeping their toys and snacks close by so they can easily reach them will help to keep them settled. DVD-players can offer a nice distraction for young ones as long as they aren't distracting to the driver, so keep them out of view. Sometimes kids start to yell or cry and if that is the case, carefully pull over and stop to attend to their needs.
Finish your personal grooming at home. Driving is a two hand job and your eyes should be on the road, so apply the lipstick or tie your tie before you leave home or after you park your car at work.
Keep the conversation light and to a minimum. Safety of yourself and your passengers always comes first so let them know. Talking or trying to listen is a distraction and silence will help you to take the safest actions possible.
Review maps and directions before leaving. Planning should occur before you leave your home so you have a good idea about where you are going and how you will get there. You should know how long it will take you, if there are any road closures you need to avoid and when the best time to leave is. If you are using a GPS you should program your destination before you leave and make sure that the volume is loud enough so you don't have to look at it for directions. Taking a look at the route that is given will also help you to avoid any tolls, specific highways or bridges. The best alternative to a GPS is using your front passenger as a navigator.
Secure loose items on your dash, rear view mirror or vacant seats. Keep loose items at home, behind the seat or in the trunk so that they do not go flying if you have to make a sharp turn or abrupt stop.
Want to know more? Check out these facts from CAA. http://distracteddriving.caa.ca/education/index.php