Distracted Driving: Tips for Staying Safe

April may be Distracted Driving Awareness Month, but it’s a problem all year round. Every single day, seven people are killed and over 700 are injured in distracted driving incidents.

What qualifies as a distraction? Anything that takes your attention away from the road, which could be just about anything.

  • Talking on the phone
  • Talking to a passenger
  • Texting
  • Using GPS
  • Changing the temperature controls
  • Adjusting your audio
  • Applying makeup
  • Eating
  • Monitoring children
  • Handling pets
  • Daydreaming

Literally, anything can be a distraction. So, what are some ways we can avoid distractions while driving? And what are some best practices that may help us avoid being a part of those seven deaths and 700 injuries?

The Multitasking Myth

Let’s start with some news you may not know: multitasking isn’t a thing people can do. We may think we can do two things at once, but the reality is, we’re just switching between tasks. And when we’re driving, we need to be focused on driving. When you’re behind the wheel, stay there—physically and mentally.

Settle First

Many of the most grievous offenders of distracted driving can be avoided with a little preparation. Need directions? Set up your GPS before you start the car. Worried about texts or calls? Turn your phone off or on silent until you’ve finished your drive. Set your radio before you exit the driveway. Get it all done ahead of time so that while you’re on the road, your mind is only on the road.

Maintain a Full Tank

Everyone loves delicious food and beverages, but enjoying them while you’re supposed to be driving is a recipe for disaster. There’s no way to keep your hands and eyes on the wheel, when they’re both busy with a delicious burger, some salad, or your favorite drink. Fill your belly before you head out on your journey, or pull over for that scrumptious sustenance—you’ll stay safer (and your car will be cleaner).

You Look Great

Personal grooming can substantially increase the chance of a collision. Will you save time in your morning routine by fixing your hair, shaving, putting on your make-up, or brushing your teeth while you drive to work or school? Yes, but only if you make it to where you’re going… In 2019, 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving. Take the time to get it done at home. It’s safer, and you’ll likely look better if you groom in your bathroom instead of your driver’s seat.

Keep Cool, Keep Alert

A large part of distracted driving comes from our own state of mind. Tired, emotional driving can pull us away from the task at hand and end up putting us and others at risk. Some 100,000 accidents are reported to the police every year that involve distracted driving—1,550 of them ending in fatalities. Exhausted driving is only part of the problem, with an estimated 66% of traffic fatalities credited to aggressive driving. If you’re tired, pull over and get some sleep. If you’re upset, pull over until you’re calm. Don’t let your mind distract you from driving safely.

Accidents happen. Farm Bureau® Insurance is here to help you when mishaps occur. Find an agent near you in your state to learn more about the way we can help you when you need us.