Have you ever been driving when, suddenly, you realize you have no idea how you got so far down the road?
“I hope I didn’t run a red light.”
“I’m home already? I don’t even remember the drive.”
It’s easy to let your mind wander when life has so many demands. Work responsibilities. School assignments. Family needs. All of the important errands waiting for you.
Chances are, you’ve let your to-do list lead thoughts now and then — it’s especially easy to do during quite moments like those that come with driving.
Simple safety precautions begin to slip your mind when you focus more on a task list than the road. That’s called distracted driving.
Remember: If you don’t get to your destination safely, you’ll never get those must-dos done!
Here are four life-saving tips to avoid being a distracted driver.
- Do a quick check in before you start the car.
Seat belt on? Check. Mirrors adjusted? Check. GPS, radio and podcasts set? Check. And, one more thing before you turn the key or punch the ignition button – take a moment to think about those items on your to-do list. Look at any list that might tempt your attention before you even touch the gear shift. If you check in with your to-dos before hitting the road, you may be less apt to wonder about them when driving.
- Put your phone on do-not-disturb mode or, better yet, shut if off completely.
And then make sure it’s out of reach so you won’t be curious to sneak a peek at any activity. That call, text or social media post can wait until you’re no longer driving.
- Make sure new drivers understand bad habits can cost lives.
The privilege that comes with driving shouldn't be taken lightly. Before letting new drivers hit the road on their own, talk with them about the responsibilities they have whenever they're behind the wheel.
Need help with what to say? Our Worth It presentation has facts, figures and a powerful true story about one driver who chose to take his eyes off the road. And, the S.T.O.P While Driving video holds a heartbreaking message that teens in particular can relate to.
While you’re at it, take this opportunity to sign the Worth It pledge together too.
- Always speak up as a passenger.
Never underestimate your influence riding shotgun. Say something whenever you notice unsafe driving practices from the passenger seat. Your decision to speak up could mean the difference between getting there safely or both of your lives changing in the blink of an eye.