It’s important to stay alert and drive undistracted all year round. However, April is distracted driving awareness month and it’s the perfect reminder to pay attention while behind the wheel. There are many dangers of distracted driving, so 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 while driving. There are many ways someone can drive distracted, so it is important when you get behind the wheel that you focus on the road ahead.
If you are in the passenger seat while a family member or friend is driving and they become distracted, speak up and say something. If they are trying to do something other than drive, offer to help. This also sets an example for others who may be in the car, too. It shows them that driving distracted isn’t safe and that it is okay to ask for assistance from co-pilots.
10 types of driver distractions
Distracted driving can put you, your loved ones and others on the road at risk. There are many different diversions that can cause distracted driving. Make sure you don’t do these while driving, and if you don’t, 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
Fiddling with music apps on your phone
Eating or drinking
Grabbing something from your purse or bag
Reaching in the back seat or to the floor for something
Changing channels or bands on the radio
Letting a pet ride on your lap
How to prevent distracted driving?
There are many ways to prevent distracted driving as the driver, passenger or parent/guardian of the driver. The first way to prevent distracted driving is by putting your phone down and turning on the do not disturb setting. Not only is using your phone while driving dangerous, but Indiana’s Distracted Driving Law prohibits it.
There are setting options in your phone that can send automatic responses to people who text you while you are on the road. These automatic replies let people know that you are driving and will get back to them shortly.
You and your loved ones’ lives are more important than any text you want to send while driving. Put your phone down and stop texting while driving starting now!
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 additional 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 be alerted that 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
Only use use a handsfree device to talk on the phone
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 safely; don’t hesitate to ask the driver to stop looking at their phone. An alternative to this is offering to make the call or send the text message for the driver.
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 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 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 drivers to help them understand the severe consequences of driving distracted. These educational videos and stories share impactful real-life examples of how serious the consequences can 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 are not permitted to use hand-held devices while driving—a law that took effect in 2020.
The hands-free law allows drivers to be less distracted by requiring them to put down phones and other devices. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 17% 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 Hoosier roads 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.
The importance of staying alert while driving is the law, but more importantly, it is for your safety and the safety of others. Stay safe by driving undistracted not just during April’s distracted driving awareness campaign, 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