Tips for Staying Focused Behind the Wheel
To say that driving has bettered our lives would be an absolute understatement. The ability to travel freely from point A to point B without exerting almost any effort, and while also remaining sheltered is something we take for granted nowadays. This has given the individual a lot more power than most people have had in history, although as Spiderman’s uncle said “with great power comes great responsibility”.
An all too common cause of call-outs for our towing service Woodstock VA is minor accidents due to one or more drivers not paying attention while driving. This problem plagues every country in the world at the moment, due to the sheer proliferation of phones and how affordable they’ve become. Although phones aren’t the only distraction we have when driving, and if you, like so many others, already struggle to focus, you may have to put effort into staying focused while driving.
Here is a look at the more common distractions while driving, and how you can mitigate them to stay focused on the road.
With most states having laws of varying severity in place for cellphone use while driving, it’s plain to see the correlation between their use and accidents. In fact, texting while driving causes a 400% increase in time spent not looking at the road (source), which subsequently causes an average of 330,000 injuries each year (source). While for some people it may be easy enough to ignore text messages, calls, and push notifications, many people do struggle.
Avoiding the Distraction
Many people will use their smartphones for work and may feel obliged to answer no matter what. Although what good are you to your employer should you end up in an accident due to answering a work call? Here are some tips for avoiding distraction:
- Put your phone on silent when driving, or set up a ‘do not disturb mode which automatically replies to calls and texts with a pre-written message
- Put your phone in your glove box, back seat, or even in your trunk until you build up the focus to not reach for it mindlessly
- Set up a voicemail stating that you may be driving and that you will call back at your soonest convenience
- If you do need to use the phone while driving, pull off the road as far as possible and put on your hazard lights
- Ask your passenger to answer any calls, read any texts, or make or send any calls or texts you need to make.
- When calling others immediately begin by asking if they’re driving, and if they are, terminate the call immediately stating you will call back when they aren’t
These are just some of the common distractions, another common one we hear from our towing service Woodstock is using a Map app to find a location. If you rely on this, you should either invest in a purpose-built GPS or a phone holder for your dash somewhere in sight but not in the way.
If you have kids, then you’ll know that they can be just as distracting while driving, if not more than phone use. Be sure to set boundaries around acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the car while they’re young. Every kid is different so you may have to be creative in getting them to understand.
Here is a great article with tips on car safety for children, but most importantly be sure to communicate with them about this.
Fatigue, Hunger, and Stress
While we may not even register that we’re feeling one of these, they can be a common cause of poor decision-making and can lead to becoming distracted.
When You’re Tired
When you’re starting to feel tired behind the wheel, you may already be falling asleep, so you should keep an eye out for a rest spot or somewhere safe to pull over to let someone else drive.
Store some high-energy dry foods in your car such as nuts or oat bars to stave you over if you feel hungry between locations and can’t stop to get food. Otherwise, keep $5 or $10 in your glovebox to buy some food from a gas station or fast food provider.
Whatever may be causing you stress, you should try to defuse it and relax as soon as possible. Depending on the severity you may wish to pull over and take a moment outside of the car to breathe and stretch. Otherwise practice abdominal breathing by moving your gut in and out with each breath, making exhales longer than inhales.
Even if you become adept at focusing behind the wheel, accidents do happen, and it’s important to be focused when they do. Once you’ve confirmed your own passengers and any other pedestrians, passengers, or drivers of other vehicles are okay, call us for our towing service Woodstock VA and nearby. Not only can we tow your vehicle, we can also help to repair many types of minor damage.