According to the National Safety Council, April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month. Distractions are among the biggest causes of automobile injuries and accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in accidents involving a distracted driver, and another 424,000 people were injured. If you're among the population of easily distracted drivers, there is hope for change. Here are four helpful tips for becoming a better, more focused driver in no time:
"In 2013, some 424,000 people were injured in car accidents caused by distractions."
1. Always plan ahead
One of the reasons that so many people are distracted while diving is that they're constantly making adjustments while on the road. To prevent that, the American Automobile Association suggested preparing yourself before ever leaving the driveway. That means taking steps to get comfortable, like setting the air conditioning and radio volume and moving your seat and mirrors. You should also make sure you know where you're going beforehand, including setting the GPS and checking for traffic.
2. Rely on your passengers
Passengers aren't simply there to take up space or to keep you company on long rides. Instead, as the Governors Highway Safety Association pointed out, passengers are among your best tools for avoiding distractions. These people can help with a number of tasks, like keeping an eye on the GPS, adjusting the air conditioning or volume controls or answering a phone call or text message. Just be sure that asking your passenger for help doesn't become a distraction in and of itself.
3. Turn off the world
Even on the road, it's hard to completely divorce yourself from everything. You might have an unexpected phone call or keep thinking about some big meeting the next day. If that's the case, Farmers Insurance suggested that you make driving time all about you. Turn off your phone, play some soothing music and use the time to detach yourself from the stress. Not only are you less likely to be distracted, but also you're giving yourself an important outlet for handling the weight of the world.
4. Know your limits
Sometimes we have to drive when we're not feeling at our best. Whenever possible, do as GEICO suggested and pull off the road for a few minutes. If you're hungry, for instance, take a few minutes to eat something; dealing with low blood sugar can diminish your ability to focus properly. If you're feeling drowsy, park your car for a few minutes and let yourself relax. That narrow window is often enough to help you feel rejuvenated. If you're worried any of these steps might make you late, you can always phone ahead.
Distracted drivers open themselves up to car accidents, and many of these events result in whiplash, soft tissue damage, cuts and bruises, and other minor injuries, according to Nolo. Rather than waiting at the emergency room, you can always head to your nearest CareWell Urgent Care center. With locations across the East Coast, CareWell's team of physicians can treat almost any injury and get you back on the road that same day.