A distracted driver is not only a danger to themselves, but is also a danger to their passengers and other road drivers. Driving is an activity that requires your full attention. A few seconds that you take your full attention off the road can mean life or death.
There are three main types of distraction while driving:
- Visual Distractions: These distractions can take your eyes off the road.
- Manual Distractions: These can take your hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive Distractions: These distractions can take your mind off your driving.
Activities that combine all three types of distractions are hazardous, such as reading a text message or sending one. This takes your eyes off the road, your hand off the wheel, and your mind off your driving.
Common distractions while driving
· Mobile phones
As it turns out, mobile phones are the most common distraction to drivers. Checking your phone screen, reading or replying to a text message, checking who is calling you, or worse, browsing social media platforms are just some ways your mobile phones act as a distraction from your driving. All of these are illegal and are there are fines in different states.
A driver must not hold a phone in a moving vehicle or one that’s not parked unless they are passing the phone to a passenger. Even hands-free, a call on your mobile phone can distract you in many ways.
While driving on an empty stomach can be disastrous to some, eating while driving can take your concentration off the road. In fact, drivers who are eating while driving in Australia can be penalised with fines, depending on their state. Everybody probably has munched on a little something while driving, but a seemingly harmless snack can get you in trouble.
Although there are no universal road rules on eating while driving, you can still be fined if your eating can distract you from driving. Eating while driving in Newcastle can cost you a three-figure fine and can cause you to lose three points.
Drinking your caffeine fix before you drive may be a must for you, but taking sips while you are driving can distract you from the road. A hot drink can be a recipe for disaster. Tongues and laps can be burned by the scalding drink, which can effectively distract you while driving.
· Loud and boisterous passengers
Passengers who converse loudly while on the road are another form of distraction, especially if you are tempted to join in the conversation. Children who are squabbling and bored, asking for food, their tablets, or simply asking questions can be equally distracting as well.
· The bright sun over the horizon
Driving into the sun during sunrise or sunset can be distracting, especially if it forces you to squint. Having the sun in your line of vision can affect what you see on the road. A pair of sunglasses, pulling down your sun visor, or adjusting your seating may help. If the glare is still unbearable, it is better to pull over and wait a few minutes for the sun to rise or set fully.
· Pets in your car
Pets seldom stay in one place, and if left free, they can be a big distraction to the driver. Leaving your pets unrestrained while they are in the car also puts them at risk of injury. There are laws in Australia that govern pet travel and how they should be restrained and seated. A driver must never drive with a pet on their lap. Not only does having your pets under control keep you focused on your driving, but it also keeps your pets safer during the journey.
· Adjusting your car’s settings
It may seem like it’s nothing, but adjusting your cabin temperature, the volume on your MP3 player, skipping a song, or changing the radio station can take your attention off the road, even if just for a few seconds. Crashes can occur as a result of a moment’s inattention.
How to avoid distractions when you are easily distracted
The act of driving is already a sensory overload. You have to keep your eyes open on the road for cars, pedestrians, and traffic signs. You have to listen and be alert for honks and sirens. Within the onslaught of this information, you have to make the right decisions quickly. Adding distractions to the mix does not make driving any easier.
If you get easily distracted, here are some things you can do to help you stay focussed.
- Turn off your phone when you are driving.
- Turn off your MP3 player.
- Make sure to adjust all vehicle settings, such as air conditioning, mirror positions, and seat position, before you drive
- If you need to eat or drink, it is better to take a break and pull over somewhere safe.
- Check a map before you drive so that you have an idea of your route.
- Ensure your pets are properly seated and restrained.
- Ask your companions to keep quiet if their conversation is bothering you.
- If you are travelling with kids, keep some of their favourite books or toys in the car.
- Keep your windscreens and mirrors clean and without any distracting dirt.
- Be aware of what distracts you and make sure to avoid it when you are on the road.
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You will never know when you will need safe towing services when you are on the road. Your car could break down, your tyre could go flat, your battery could die out in the middle of nowhere. Drive with the comfort of knowing that you have someone to call in these times of emergency. Newcastle Towing and Transport offers 24/7 towing needs that you can rely on anytime, anywhere.
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