The warm weather and vacation season send thousands of people out onto U.S. roadways each summer. Besides the perils of traffic, there is also the problem of distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. Sending a text message, talking on the phone, eating while driving, changing the radio station, and applying make-up while driving are examples of distracted driving. Each day, distracted driving causes about 9 fatalities and 1,153 injuries nationwide. While 98% of drivers acknowledge that distracted driving is a problem, 66% of drivers still engage in distracted driving. When you hit the road this summer, here are five tips to make your driving safe and distraction free!

  1.  Do NOT text and drive. Looking down at your phone to read a message may only take five seconds, but it’s the equivalent of driving across the length of a football field blind. If you’re not watching the road, it becomes difficult to anticipate and react to activity on the road. If you have to read and answer the text, pull off the road.


  1. Avoid talking on a cell phone. When you’re driving, consider using the cell phone only for emergency purposes. While the conversation may be hands- free, it’s not distraction free. Hands free devices can still cause you to be unfocused and miss key visual and audio cues that will help you avoid a crash.


  1. Plan ahead. Be sure to complete activities like grooming, dressing, and eating BEFORE leaving the house. This may require you to get up a little earlier, or build in extra time to get ready before leaving for an event. The car is not a mobile bathroom or kitchen. Your primary focus is driving. Everything else is secondary.


  1.  Secure loose items. Before leaving, stow away loose items or other possessions that could roll around in the car, so you don’t feel compelled to reach for them and take your eyes off the road.


  1. Make adjustments before driving. Be sure to adjust mirrors, seat positions, car temperature, radio, and GPS destinations before leaving the driveway. Decide on the route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.

Source: Distracted Driving, Motor Vehicle Safety, CDC Injury Center

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