(Note: Heads Up Driving Week was observed this week, Oct. 5 – 11)
Multi-tasking is a fact of life – we all face constant demands for our time, and we all have to juggle more than ever before. Unfortunately, many people multi-task while driving, which is NEVER a good idea. Being distracted behind the wheel for even just a few seconds greatly increases your chance of a crash.
Distracted driving contributes to up to 8,000 crashes every single day.
You can help by committing to be a distraction-free driver during Heads Up Driving Week, October 5-11, 2009. Please – try it for a week – do it for life. Below are 10 quick and easy ways to minimize distractions to keep yourself and all of us safer on the roads.
10 Tips to Being a Heads Up Driver
1. PLAN AHEAD. Read maps and check traffic conditions before you get on the road.
2. STOW ELECTRONIC DEVICES. Turn off your phone before you drive so you won’t be tempted to use it while on the road. Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone or to send and receive text messages or emails.
3. PREPARE KIDS AND PETS FOR THE TRIP. Get the kids safely buckled in and situated with snacks and entertainment before you start driving. If they need additional attention during the trip, pull off the road safely to care for them. Similarly, prepare and secure pets appropriately in your vehicle before getting underway.
4. SATISFY THAT CRAVING OFF THE ROAD. Eat meals and snacks before getting behind the wheel, or stop to eat and take a break if driving long-distance.
5. STORE LOOSE GEAR AND POSSESSIONS. Stash away loose objects that could roll around and take your attention away from driving.
6. GET YOUR VEHICLE ROAD-READY. Adjust seat positions, climate controls, sound systems and other devices before you leave or while your vehicle is stopped. Make sure your headlights are spotless so you can see everything on the road and every other driver can see you better. Keep your windshield clean and remove dangling objects that could block your view.
7. DRESS FOR SUCCESS – BEFORE YOU GET IN THE CAR. Your car isn’t a dressing room. Brush your hair, shave, put on make-up, and tie your necktie before you leave or once you reach your destination.
8. GET YOUR BRAIN IN THE GAME. Focus on the task at hand – driving safely. Scan the road, use mirrors and practice identifying orally what you just saw to enhance your engagement as a driver. Really focusing on maintaining your thoughts about the road, when you’re on the road, can help you improve your overall awareness and behavior as a driver, and help you see the importance of ‘being in the game.’
9. EVALUATE YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR FROM THE ‘OTHER’ SIDE OF THE ROAD. When you’re on the road as a passenger or a pedestrian, take a look around and honestly evaluate whether you might have some of the same driving behaviors as those who you’re a little worried about as a passenger or pedestrian.
10. USE NEW TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE YOU A BETTER DRIVER. Sharpen your ability to respond quickly to risks on the road.
The AAA Foundation recommends all drivers improve their reaction times and managing attention on the road by using DriveSharp, a computer program proven to improve reaction time and stopping distances. With quicker responses, you can avoid the distracted driver who might end up in your lane.