April 6, 2022

Are You A Distracted Driver?
Are You A Distracted Driver?
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, find out what makes a distracted driver and how to avoid it.

Millions of people hop into their cars or trucks and hit the road hoping for a smooth and safe journey to their destination, but these people may be putting their lives at risk because a distracted driver can be around any corner. April is distracted driver awareness month, and learning what can cause distractions on the road and how to avoid them can save the life of the driver and others on and around the highway. Distractions can come in many shapes and forms; find out if you’ve ever been a distracted driver.

Why is Distracted Driver Awareness Month Important?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020. The importance of distracted driver awareness month is to bring to attention everything that leads to distractions in hopes of avoiding accidents and reducing fatality numbers. Distracted driving accidents affect those behind the wheel, be it a commuter in a Honda Civic or a trucker in a Freightliner. Accidents also involve the child on their bike who wasn’t seen crossing the street or the family on their way to vacation clipped by a driver swerving lanes while checking a text.

What Leads to a Distracted Driver?

When it comes to being distracted while driving, the main culprit is phone use. The saying is imprinted on every driver’s mind: Don’t text and drive. Using hands-free callings like Bluetooth devices and voice-activated commands reduces physical phone use and enables the driver to keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. However, having a phone conversation or focusing on the correct voice commands to access hands-free mode still takes attention away from the road and keeps the mind occupied otherwise. Cellphones are not the only culprit of road distractions; eating or drinking while driving, changing radio stations or songs, adjusting a GPS, and more are all things that take attention away from the road. Talking to passengers or attempting to glance at something is also distracting. Looking at a picture someone is showing you while driving isn’t far different from looking at a text while driving. The NHTSA estimates that taking eyes off the road for 5 seconds at 55mph is equivalent to driving across a football field with closed eyes. Being aware while driving is essential for truckers because a long-haul trucker lugging a significant load will take longer to stop than a small automobile, making road awareness of the utmost importance. Another distraction truckers might be familiar with is sleepiness behind the wheel. Staying awake behind the wheel is very important and learning how to deal with sleep problems as a truck driver or anyone facing a long commute means staying awake and alert.

How to Avoid Being a Distracted Driver

Knowing what makes a distracted driver and learning how to avoid these distractions is also essential. Putting a phone on airplane mode or putting it away avoids distractions. Sending an “I’m Driving” text before taking off will notify someone that you are about to be driving and won’t have access to the phone. Make a playlist for the road ahead of time with appealing songs that won’t give you the urge to change them while on the road. Suppose you are following a GPS, and you must adjust something. Whether adding a stop, changing the destination or looking for an alternate route, the safest bet is pulling over and handling any GPS business while NOT in motion. Try keeping conversations to a minimum while driving and save any photo or passenger distractions after reaching the destination. As far as avoiding distractions such as sleepiness on the road, one rule remains true: if you feel sleepy and you’re at risk of dozing off, pull over, take a nap, and save a life. In general, driving at night can be more complex and should be avoided, but many drivers like truckers don’t have that option, and learning ways to overcome these challenges is a fight against distracted driving.

April is all about distracted driver awareness and learning what makes a distracted driver and how to avoid distractions is the hot topic for this month. There are even more ways to avoid being distracted while driving, like combating road rage, which is worth checking out.