Whether you’re a professional driver or just an everyday road warrior, you’re well aware that distracted driving can be a recipe for disaster. In the split second that it takes to remove your hands from the wheel and adjust the stereo or answer a phone call, an animal could run out in front of your vehicle, or the car in front of you could suddenly brake. That’s all it takes for an accident to occur – just a simple moment of inattention.
The best way to avoid an accident is to ensure that you’re always alert and always paying attention to what’s happening in front of your vehicle. The problem, though, is that more distractions than ever are competing for your attention when you drive. In this article, we’re going to provide some tips that can help you minimize those issues and avoid distracted driving. Let’s begin.
Disable Phone Alerts While Driving
According to the CDC, car accidents involving distracted drivers kill an average of nine people and injure over 1,000 each day. That’s just in the United States. If you add in the statistics for the rest of the world, the numbers become even more appalling. Mobile phones are likely the most common cause of distracted driving. Some have estimated that, at any given time, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. using their mobile phones while they drive.
Given those statistics, it’s safe to say that keeping safe while driving isn’t just a matter of managing your own mobile phone usage. It’s equally important for you to remain on the lookout for other drivers attempting to answer calls or respond to text messages while they’re on the road.
Your phone most likely has the ability to detect when you’re driving and disable incoming alerts until you’re safe. If you’re not receiving alerts, you won’t be tempted to read and respond to them. If you’re using an iPhone, open the Settings app and tap “Control Center.” You’ll find the setting for “Do Not Disturb While Driving” in the “Customize Controls” area.
Use Your Phone’s Bluetooth Features
Phones that can detect when you’re driving are relatively new, and it’s possible that your phone doesn’t have an automatic Do Not Disturb setting. If not, you can always enable that setting manually while driving. One thing your phone almost certainly has, though – since virtually all phones have had it for about 15 years – is Bluetooth. Many modern vehicles come equipped with Bluetooth infotainment consoles that can automatically connect with your phone. With Bluetooth enabled, you can answer calls and talk to people through your car’s microphone and stereo system without ever removing your hands from the wheel. If your vehicle doesn’t have a Bluetooth infotainment system, use a Bluetooth earpiece instead.
Take Liquid Supplements Before Driving
The health supplement industry is a huge one, and people around the world are now using various supplements to increase alertness, relieve chronic pains and promote general wellness. One problem with supplements, though, is that many of them come in liquid form. Let’s suppose, for example, that you take a CBD oil supplement from a company like VSAVI. To take a liquid supplement while driving, you need to hold the bottle in one hand and the dropper in your other hand. That’s a bad situation if something happens on the road that requires your immediate action. Take your supplements before driving. If you need to take a supplement while you’re on the road, pull over first.
Use Nicotine Lozenges Instead of Smoking or Vaping
If you smoke or vape, you know how powerful those nicotine cravings can be while you’re on the road. If you’re on the highway for hours at a time, there will be long periods in which you aren’t doing much of anything other than keeping your vehicle in its lane. Things can start to become a bit dull, and that’s when you start to think about doing something to keep yourself alert. Naturally, the temptation is to light up a cigarette or take a pull from your vape. The problem, though, is that every time you do that, your hand leaves the steering wheel. Taking a cigarette out of a pack and lighting it, in particular, is very difficult to do with just one hand. An easy solution for that problem is to use a nicotine lozenge before you begin driving. Allowed to dissolve slowly in your mouth, a nicotine lozenge can easily last an hour or more. When it’s time for another, you can just pull over.
Use Your Vehicle’s Voice Controls
If your vehicle has an infotainment center with Bluetooth features for phone calls, then it also has a microphone – and if your vehicle has a microphone, there’s a good chance that it also accepts voice controls. Usually, you can enable your car’s voice controls by pressing a button on the steering wheel. To learn what commands your car understands, consult the instruction manual. Your vehicle’s infotainment system may also have a help screen that you can view. It might surprise you to learn how many commands your vehicle can understand. Some of the typical voice control features that a vehicle may have include:
- Changing the temperature of the vehicle’s climate control system
- Changing the cruise control settings
- Changing the station on the radio
- Changing the artist or song playing on your phone or USB storage device
Don’t Drive When Tired
The best way to avoid distracted driving is by ensuring that you’re always completely awake when you’re on the road. Stopping for a cup of coffee – especially if you get out of the car and walk around for a while in the process – can help. It’s even better to avoid situations in which you need to drive late at night or without sufficient sleep. If you need an extra pick-me-up while you’re on the road, check your phone’s app store for some voice-enabled games. A hands-free trivia game, for example, may help to keep your brain active during those long hours on the road.