You acknowledge you might have a slight addiction to your cell phone. The last time you misplaced it and it had no battery power, you felt like you were having a heart attack. Yet, you consider yourself a responsible person, someone who wouldn’t use your phone while driving.
However, when you get a text or are stopped at a stoplight, you might feel very tempted to pick up that phone. You’re an experienced driver. Nothing will happen, right? Unfortunately, distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents in the United States. In 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people died in distracted driving crashes on U.S. roads. Cell phone use while driving also reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.
In Kentucky, all drivers are prohibited from texting, using email and instant messaging while behind the wheel. In the 2020, lawmakers debated banning all forms of cell phone use while driving or temporarily stopped, but the bill didn’t move past committee.
Still, drivers can be proactive. They also need to keep in mind using your phone behind the wheel isn’t the only form of distracted driving. Here are five tips you can take to avoid distracted driving and help prevent a devasting accident:
- Use your phone only in emergency situations. Otherwise, turn it off or use an app that prevents you from using your phone while driving.
- Avoid multitasking while in your car. If you need to put on makeup, make phone calls or respond to emails and texts, pull off the road and take a break. Don’t associate your driving time as extra time to get more tasks done. Even using hands-free calling and texting features can cause you to become a distracted driver.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving. Food spills while driving are a major force of distraction.
- Make sure you secure your children or pets properly in their seats before you begin driving.
- Plan your route before you go or have a passenger serve as a navigator while you are driving.
Keep in mind, especially if you are a parent, you want to set a good example to your children and teens about avoiding distracted driving. You not only want to protect yourself and them while you are behind the wheel, but help them learn that they will protect others by avoiding distracted driving once they begin driving themselves.