Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

It seems our lives are getting busier and busier, we are trying to juggle demanding careers with home life, social lives and a plethora of other activities. It is no wonder we are trying to use our time as efficiently as possible by multi-tasking. Unfortunately, this has had an impact on how we drive.

What is distracted driving? 

Distracted driving is doing anything that breaks your concentration from the road ahead as you drive. Distracted driving is a major contributor to traffic accidents all over the world. They range in seriousness from ‘fender benders’ to fatal accidents so eliminating distracted driving could save your life.

Causes of distracted driving

When most of us think of distracted driving, our minds automatically jump to mobile phones. There is no doubt that they are a distraction. In Ireland, the Road Safety Authority say mobile phone use is an issue in 20-30% of all collisions. But there are many other causes of distracted driving including:

  • A child, crying, asking for something or misbehaving in the back seat
  • Editing or looking at a sat nav
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Applying makeup or personal grooming while in the car
  • Changing music or radio stations
  • Conversations with other passengers in the car

They are things many of us do almost as habit but when you really think about it, have any of them caused you to slam on the breaks as traffic ahead slows down unexpectedly or the car in front stops to turn? It’s a scary moment. Don’t let it happen again by following our tips.

Tips for avoiding distracted driving

  1. Be prepared: if you commute to work by car, it can be tempting to ‘save time’ by eating breakfast in the car, putting on make-up or combing your hair. If getting up 15 minutes earlier to do these things at home is too much, consider doing them as soon as you arrive in the office.
  2. Extra time: try and allow extra time to get to your destination, usually take an hour? Give yourself an extra 15 minutes so you aren’t tempted to multi-task in the car.
  3. Ensure children are correctly secured: the RSA see this at their ‘check it fits’ child car seat service where car seats are incorrectly fitted or straps are too tight or in the wrong place, causing the child discomfort.
  4. Rely on passengers: if there is someone else in the car, ask them to change the radio station, adjust the heat or the myriad of other things that can cause distraction while driving.
  5. Pull over: if you are in the car on your own, pull over in a safe place to make any adjustments needed. It may seem like a waste of time but it could be the difference between arriving safe and sound to your destination or not arriving at all.
  6. Take a break: often find yourself eating on the road? Pull over and take a 15-minute break instead. Drinking tea and coffee in the car is particularly dangerous for two reasons. The risk of getting distracted by a spillage and the fact you must take your eyes off the road to drink from a travel or take-away cup. Hot beverages are best enjoyed in the comfort of a road side coffee shop.
  7. Ignore distractions: children asking questions? Someone asking you to look at something? We know it is hard but ignore them, your number one priority is to get them to your destination safely.

Focusing on more than one thing while you drive puts you and other road users at risk. Don’t take chances that you might live to regret, focus on the road ahead.

If your car insurance is up for renewal soon, get a quote today, it will only take a few minutes.


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