Prevent Distracted Driving for a Safe Ride

Even though Arizona doesn’t ban the use of cell phones while driving, it’s wise to stow your phone while on the road. Distracted driving is responsible for many accidents each year. Here are some tips to keep you focused and avoid unnecessary collisions.

What Is Distracted Driving?

The DMV classifies distracted driving as any activity that diverts your attention from the road. This includes eating, drinking, talking, changing radio stations and reaching for items. Grabbing cell phones, checking email and texting are certainly on the list as well. Even GPS devices cause distractions every time you look at the map.

Why Is Distracted Driving a Hazard?

Things happen fast on the road, especially on speedy highways. Cars merge into other lanes, construction cones block exit ramps and drivers slam on their brakes. As a driver, you need to be aware of all cars and obstructions around you. You also need to be mindful that quick stops cannot happen when you drive at fast speeds. While driving in busy cities, you need to watch out for pedestrians, bikers, traffic signals, police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and school buses. When you’re busy chatting on the phone or looking down at a text message, you easily the miss the changes around you and have less time to react.

How to Reduce Cell Phone Distractions While Driving

There are simple ways to prevent cell phone distractions while driving. Silence your phone before entering your vehicle to prevent any incoming notifications. Look up directions prior to your trip and develop a mental map of the area. When you are lost, pull over to a safe location and reference your map while your car is stopped and in park.

For long road trips, designate short stops for checking messages and returning calls. If a caller is upset that you are unable to respond immediately, explain that you’d rather be safe on the road than put yourself and others in harm’s way. Resist the urge to use Bluetooth for making calls as such communication is just as distracting as conversing with a passenger. If music helps keep you focused and relaxed while driving, connect your phone to the speaker system, select a playlist and let it play through without changing the station.

Prevention Is Key

The best way to prevent distracted driving is to remove all distractions during the ride. This includes silencing your phone and placing it out of sight to avoid temptation. Prepare for your drive in advance, and choose to pull over before checking your phone for directions or messages.