In the age of smartphones and digital dashboards, distracted driving is on the rise. According to State Farm, 82 percent of drivers reported owning a smartphone, a number that has increased by 32 percent since 2011. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,170 people were killed in 2014, along with 431,000 hurt in vehicle crashes that involved distracted drivers.
State legislators have taken action to prevent distracted driving: 46 states have banned texting while driving, 38 have banned all cell phone use, and 14 have prohibited hand-held cell phone use. Currently, the state of New York is proposing legislation that would allow officers to carry “textalyzers”: devices that can scan a phone’s operating system for recent activity following a crash.
However, distracted driving is not solely resultant of using technology while behind the wheel. Often these crashes are caused by eating or drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, changing a radio station, or reading a map or GPS navigation system. Here are some simple ways to prevent distractions while you or family members are behind the wheel.
Utilize gadgets to prevent distractions
There are technology tools that can easily be installed to help keep both hands on the wheel. Amazon offers a variety of dashboard cell phone holders that can fit any smartphone in any car. Bluetooth headsets offer the ability to answer phone calls at the tap of a finger.
Use Your Voice, Not Your Hands
Need to send a text while on the road? Many cars, like Nissan and BMW, offer voice-controlled services where the driver can tell dashboard display who to text and what message to send. This feature also allows the driver to make phone calls, as well as change radio stations or play music from your phone.
Also, iPhones and android smart phones have the ability to voice record text messages. Tap the microphone symbol on your phone’s keyboard to enable this feature.
Better yet – Try These Tips to Eliminate Multitasking Altogether
There are far too many stories of accidents as a result of drivers juggling other tasks while they were driving. Forget breakfast? Grab a bite when you arrive at work. Forget to shave? Consider shaving after you’ve arrived at your destination. Having a little scruff is well worth a safe drive.
Lastly, if you feel drowsy or sleepy while driving, or you need to make an urgent phone call, find a safe place and pull over. Rested eyes and a rested mind are key for every safe journey.