Teenagers often get a bad reputation for being distracted drivers. While teens do often get distracted by things such as electronic devices, car safety and distracted driving is an issue for drivers of all ages. Unfortunately, distracted driving is estimated to account for over 3,000 motor vehicle deaths each year. Driving distractions include anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving. Here are two driving distractions that most drivers will face at some point.
Electronics account for a large percent of distracted driving incidents. Texting, emailing, watching a video, or talking on your phone can all cause a serious distraction. At 55 mph, the average text takes a driver's eyes off the road long enough for the vehicle to travel the length of a football field. A lot can happen in the length of a football field.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to make yourself a less-distracted driver when it comes to your electronics. If you know you are going to be distracted by your phone while driving, turn off the sound, and put it somewhere you will not be able to reach it while driving. If you get a phone call or text that must be answered right away, either have a passenger respond, or pull off the road at a safe location to respond to the message.
According to New Jersey law, texting while driving is banned for all drivers as is cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free for novice drivers. While other drivers are not completely banned from using their cell phones while driving, they are banned from using handheld devices. If you are looking to be a safer driver, avoid using your phone at all when driving unless it is an emergency.
Food and Drinks
Because people are in a hurry, multitasking has become common. People eat breakfast on their way to work. They drink a soda while traveling with friends. They eat a snack when on a road trip. Unfortunately, food can cause a driving distraction. You may look over to find the food or take your hand off the wheel to grab your drink. Maybe you drop some food or spill an ice cream cone down your arm. When possible, avoid driving while you are eating or drinking.
Sometimes, it is not logically possible to completely avoid food and drinks while driving. If this is the case, there are several things you can do to cut back on the number of distractions. First, avoid messy or sticky foods or drinks. Second, if you do spill or drop something, either allow a passenger to clean it up, or wait until you can safely pull over to clean it up. When possible, have a passenger get your food or drink for you. This will help you avoid taking your eyes off of the road and your hands off of the wheel.
It is also important to be careful when drinking or eating something that is excessively hot or cold, such as coffee or an ice cream cone. If you spill these things on yourself, they may cause an added distraction.
Of course, these are just two of the distraction you are likely to face as a driver. Be aware of what distractions you face the most as a driver, and work to be a more alert driver. A safer driver is someone who has adequate insurance coverage. If you are unhappy with your current coverage or you are interested in exploring other options, contact us. At AAA North Jersey, our goal is to give you quality insurance for all the facets of your life, including your vehicle, home, life, and business.