You already have enough to worry about when you’re driving for the first time. Throw in some distractions and you’re bound to get nervous. Read on about what may divert your attention and avoid these situations.
Using your cellphone
If a phone call or text message is not important enough to endanger your life, don’t reply to it. Most cell phone communication can be made before or after driving your vehicle. If it is that important, pull over to a safe part of the road or parking lot. This also goes for checking notifications, browsing the internet, and yes…even watching a video!
Reaching for an object
When you go to reach for something in your car, your eyes are usually taken off of the road. The reaction time increases greatly when you have to re-shift your focus and get the wheel under control if there was an obstacle you didn’t see in time.
Putting on makeup
Applying makeup usually takes two hands. When your hands are off the wheel, your car will gradually veer off into a different direction. Getting control back may cause your car to make a sudden jerk and throw your makeup all over the place. Furthermore, other drivers may try to avoid you and cause their own crashes.
Eating or drinking
Very similar to putting on makeup, eating or drinking keeps your focus off the road. You may be trying to keep the hot coffee from spilling on you, a burger from falling apart, or ice cream from melting. Let’s not even mention eating AND drinking at the same time!
Messing with the radio
Let’s be honest. Your jam comes on and you can’t help but dance to the wonderful beats that are coming out of the speakers. You’re in the zone and don’t care who is watching. That’s the thing…no one may be watching, but being “in the zone” means you’re really not focusing on anything else. You can switch stations or play a new song from your ipod when it is safe to do so. That means before you are on the road or when you are at a stoplight.
Letting passengers stress you out
Screaming and yelling can drive up your anxiety level. Having too many passengers can be overwhelming when everyone is talking at once. Enforce a rule for all passengers in which they may not distract you when you are driving.
Being distracted by your child or pet
You have a child and he/she is throwing a tantrum. Or you have two or more kids and they are fighting with each other. You may even have a dog that’s barking and pacing around in the car. For your children’s sake, pull over and tend to their needs. As for your beloved animal, put him in a harness or crate.
Looking at outside distractions
One of the joys of driving is to enjoy seeing things around you. However, anything that keeps you r eyes from paying attention to the road is perceived as dangerous. Examples can be billboards, street festivals, or car accidents. Be aware of your surrounding but make sure your focus is mainly on the road.
One of the most dangerous moves a driver can do is to operate a vehicle when he/she is drowsy. Being tired can easily impair your sense of alertness. Nod off once and you can find yourself in a ditch or colliding head-on to the vehicle coming towards you.
Remember when the kid next to you in class had his head in the clouds and then the teacher would call his name and he would snap out of it? Don’t get stuck in that situation when you are driving. The consequences are worse! When your mind starts to wander off, your focus is no longer on the road and what is happening around you. Instead, you are enwrapped in your own thoughts and have lost control of awareness.