We spend a lot of time in our cars. As we log hour after hour behind the wheel, it’s easy to get a little too comfortable. Combine that with the fact that many of us take the same routes through town day-in and day-out, and it’s easy to see why so many of us get a little overconfident about our driving abilities.
No matter how long you have been driving, how long it has been since you have been in an accident, or how late you are to work, there are certain things you should never do behind the wheel of a car.
You know you shouldn’t take your eyes off the road, but as long as you’re watching where you’re going, you’re being a safe driver—aren’t you?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You may be surprised to learn that wearing headphones is a form of distracted driving!
The trouble with wearing headphones while you’re driving is that they can block out other noises that are important to listen for on the road. You won’t be able to hear a motorcycle coming up alongside your car, a large truck pulling up from behind, and if you can’t hear police or ambulance sirens, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble.
If you want to listen to music or your favorite podcast, it’s much better to play it through the speakers of your car.
Use Your Phone
You shouldn’t use your phone while you’re driving. You probably already know that texting and driving is very dangerous, but there are other things you shouldn’t be doing on the phone while you’re driving either.
- Make phone calls
- Receive phone calls
- Start or change GPS directions
- Search for songs or music stations
Think talking hands-free is safer? Think again! Talking hands-free is just as dangerous as holding the phone up to your ear. You could be putting yourself at risk if you use the Bluetooth capabilities in your car to place or receive calls, or to answer text messages. It’s really much better not to do anything with your phone at all.
Attempt to Grab Something Out of Your Reach
Things happen when you’re on the road, especially if you’re in a hurry. Things get tossed on the seat and end up on the floor or you discover that you’ve left something important, like your sunglasses, in the backseat.
Although you may be tempted to bend over and reach for whatever you have lost, it’s much better to pull over before you retrieve your phone or sunglasses. If you reach while you’re driving, you could easily find yourself in an accident.
Avoid losing items between or under the seats in the first place by using a front seat organizer. It will keep important items and change close-at-hand, so you will never have to worry about losing something while you’re driving again.
Make Adjustments to the Car
Sitting in the car isn’t always comfortable, especially if you’re driving long distances. It could also be the case that you hopped in the car and got on the road so fast that you forgot to make adjustments to your seat or the mirrors.
A quick adjustment can distract you from the road long enough that you could find yourself in an accident. Adjustments as simple as sliding your seat forward or changing the climate controls can take your attention off the road long enough for you to cause an accident.
The radio can be a problem too! Avoid spending too much time flipping between stations, and definitely avoid changing songs on your phone while you’re driving.
Anything That Isn’t Focusing on the Road
Basically, anything that takes your attention off of the road should not be done while you’re driving. That includes doing your hair and your makeup. It also includes eating and driving, as it is the cause of a massive number of accidents!
Have kids in the backseat? Although you may be tempted to reprimand them or calm them down from the driver’s seat, it’s much better to pull over. Save sensitive conversations with others for when you aren’t driving, and avoid daydreaming. Literally, anything that takes your attention off the road should be avoided!
Driving a car is a huge responsibility. Unfortunately, it’s a responsibility that many of us don’t take seriously as time goes on. Make sure you don’t do any of these things behind the wheel and you can greatly decrease your chances of experiencing an accident when you’re on the road.