With the new year just around the corner, many North Texas drivers have a lot on their minds. The normal hustle and bustle around DFW is even more hectic with extra shopping, attending or hosting holiday parties, and out-of-town visitors. All of this results in the need for multi-tasking in an attempt to get everything done.
The sprawling highways of Dallas and Fort Worth have lots of people in their cars more often than they might want to be. Many have used that time to try to accomplish other goals besides driving, otherwise known as distracted driving. One of the biggest, is texting while driving, which we wrote about last summer, but according to the website, Distraction.gov, “Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. Some of these distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
However, recent studies have also shown that a wandering mind can affect driving performance just as much. Focusing on things other than the task at hand usually occurs when you’re doing mundane or familiar tasks, such as brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or driving.
During the holidays, and especially around New Year’s Eve, there is always a heightened awareness of the perils of drinking and driving, but a wandering mind while driving can have similar results. Serious consequences don’t usually happen if your mind wanders while you’re brushing your teeth, but operating a moving vehicle while your mind is somewhere else, can cause a serious accident.
As a premier DFW towing company, Titan Towing has often seen the result of distracted drivers in North Texas. No matter what causes you to become distracted, there are some common sense ways to avoid it. The DMV.org recommends:
- Stay calm.
- Anxiety and stress can be a big distraction. Take deep breaths and keep your focus on the road. Pull over.
- If, for whatever reason, you can’t seem to keep your focus, find a safe place to pull over and take a break. Avoid pulling over on the side of a busy street, or in dark and isolated places.
- Keep the peace.
- Driving is not the time for arguments, which can be VERY distracting. Save the fight for when you are in a safer setting.
- Use your passengers.
- When possible, put your passenger in charge of tasks like temperature control or changing the music.
- Know your dials.
- This is especially important when you are driving a new car, or a car you are not used to driving.
- Get to know the car’s controls BEFORE you start driving. This will help minimize distractions in cases where you must use one of the car’s controls.
- Use your radio presets.
- Most car stereos allow you to preset stations so that you only have to press one button to hear what you want.
- Make adjustments before you start driving. These include:
- Steering wheel.
- Stay off your phone.
- Cell phone use, whether for texting or talking, is a huge distraction. Put your phone away, and do not let yourself use it until you are out of your car.
- There are even some smartphone apps that will help keep you from driving distracted.
- Be rested and satisfied.
- If you are going for a long trip, make sure you have had plenty of rest, food, and drink.
- Remember to factor meal times into your schedule so that you don’t feel pressured into eating while driving to make it to your destination on time.
- Set up your GPS before you start driving.
Following these tips can keep you, and others, safer on the road in the new year.