It is important to drive safe and undistracted all year, but April is distracted driving awareness month and serves as a reminder to pay attention while behind the wheel. We have compiled information and tips to help you be less distracted on the road.
What is distracted driving?
In simplest terms, distracted driving is when the driver of a vehicle is not paying 100% attention to what they are doing. There are many ways someone can drive distracted, so it is important when you get behind the wheel that you are as focused as possible on the road ahead.
If you are in the passenger seat while a family member or friend is driving and begins to become distracted, speak up and say something. Tell them to please stop or help them with whatever they are trying to do.
10 types of driver distractions
Distracted driving can put you and your loved ones at risk. There are many different diversions that can cause distracted driving. Make sure you don’t do these while driving, and you’ll be a better and safer driver!
Calling someone with the phone in your hand
Trying to settle or attend to children in the car
Programming the navigation system or app
Applying makeup or other personal hygiene tasks
Changing a channel on your phone
How to prevent distracted driving?
There are many ways to prevent distracted driving as the driver, passenger or parent of drivers. The first way to prevent distracted driving is simply by putting the phone down and on do not disturb. Not only is it dangerous, but Indiana’s Distracted Driving Law prohibits it. There are settings in your phone that you can use that will send automatic responses to people who text you while you are on the road. These automatic replies let people know that you are behind the wheel and will get back to them shortly.
Distracted driving can range from texting to eating a snack; any attention that takes your attention off the task of driving. If you think something may distract you, then it is better to wait until you put it in park.
What are distracted driving awareness month tips for drivers?
First and foremost, turn off your phone or device, buckle your seat belt and abide by the laws of the road by saying no to distracted driving. Here are a few tips to follow:
Put your phone on DO NOT DISTURB once you are in the car, so you aren’t tempted to look at your phone and those texting you will know you are driving
Always clear your windows and mirrors from any kind of hazards that may prevent you from seeing clearly
Keep up with windshield wipers’ maintenance throughout the year, so they provide you with good vision during a storm
Keep both hands on the wheel at all times
Be sure your tires are ideal for each season of the year and its respective weather and climate
If you do talk on the phone, use a handsfree device
Let your passengers know that while driving you need to have 100% attention on the road
What are distracted driving awareness month tips if you are the passenger?
As the passenger in the car, you have the right to let someone know if they are not driving safe; don’t hesitate to ask a driver to stop looking at their phone. Instead, offer to make the call or send the text message for them.
Accidents can happen within seconds of looking down. Instead of taking the risk, ask the driver if they need assistance with anything while driving. Are you going on a long road trip? Make sure to have a system in place if the driver wants a drink or a bite of a snack. If this means you open the water bottle before they get a drink--do it, there is no such thing as being too safe!
What can parents do?
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers are nearly four times more likely to be involved in an accident than drivers 20 years and older. That is why it is even more important to speak to your youthful driving to help them understander the severe consequences of driving distracted. Educational videos and stories can have a major impact by sharing real-life examples of how serious consequences be.
What the State of Indiana and federal government are doing?
Not only is it unsafe to drive while distracted by a phone or hand-held device, but it is illegal in Indiana. Hoosiers not permitted to use hand-held devices while driving—a law that took effect in 2020.
The hands-free law requires drivers to be less distracted by putting down phones and other devices. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 17 percent of all crashes resulting in an injury involved driver distraction. In fact, drivers who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in an accident. This law makes it illegal to have a telecommunications device in your hand while driving—even when stopped at a light. This law was a push by Governor Eric Holcomb to make the roads in Indiana safer. So, keep in mind that having a device in your hand while driving is both distracting and illegal. To read more about this law, visit IN.gov to learn more.
Distracted driving awareness month in April is important to all of us. The importance of staying alert while driving is not just for you and the safety of others, but it is the law. Stay safe by driving undistracted not just this April, but every time you, a family member or friend gets behind the wheel!
*The information in this article was compiled from a variety of sources and is intended to provide helpful tips only