If your mind is not on the road when you’re driving, you run the risk of ignoring potential hazards and not reacting in time to avoid an accident. There are many things that can distract a driver, with cell phone use leading the list. Fortunately, drivers can cut down on the likelihood of getting distracted by taking the time for some advance planning before setting out.
Figuring out directions
One major cause of stress and distraction on the road is trying to figure out directions while continuing to drive. Whether this means attempting to read a paper map, dialing a friend for help or typing locations into your GPS or navigation a pp, figuring out your route as you go takes up a significant chunk of your attention.
To avoid this situation, you can prepare before you leave by figuring out and double-checking your directions, and setting up your navigation app to give you voice directions so that you do not have to look away from the road to check a device screen. If you get lost or have to change routes, the best thing to do is to pull over as soon as is practical and figure out your plans while parked.
Dealing with your passengers
Another frequent source of distraction comes from trying to wrangle people, pets and objects in the car with you. Try to plan for peaceful, non-distracting interactions before you travel. This means finding noncontroversial conversation topics or entertainment for your passengers. Avoid bringing up potentially contentious subjects.
If you are traveling with children or pets, unfortunately there is no perfect way of ensuring their good behavior. However, you can minimize potential danger by planning beforehand. Pets should be secured so that they are not able to roam around your vehicle – this is important for avoiding distraction as well as for the animals’ own safety in case of an accident.
Preparing entertainment and snacks that your children can reach from their seats is a good way to cut down on demands and arguments. If bickering does ensue, do not turn around or otherwise try to resolve matters. Stay safe by keeping your mind and your eyes on the road; you can sort out discipline when you get to your destination.
Even when you do everything you can to ensure that you are driving safely, you unfortunately have no way to guarantee other drivers on the road are doing the same. If you are injured in a car accident, the consequences can range from relatively light to extremely far-reaching. The best thing to do is to consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible after the accident so that you can learn more about available options.