Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Driver playing with the Radio while driving

Today we are surrounded by so many distractions on and off the road. While most older road users aren’t distracted by their cell phones there are other aspects of life and driving that can be distracting. Eating while driving, using your navigation system, music, conversations, and so much more.

According to the CDC, there are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving.

Listed below are a few ways to prevent distracted driving.

Do not multitask! Today we think we can do many things at once. This is not the case while driving. Focus on the task at hand, which is getting from one place to another - safely. Before you start your journey, adjust your mirror, pick your music, type your destination into your navigation system, and only use your phones for emergency purposes. Phone calls and texts can wait until you get off the road. To ensure that you are keeping your focus on the road, download safe driving apps such as DriveMode and Lifesaver which are available for Android and iOS devices on the app store. These apps temporarily block notifications from popping up on your screen. Notifications and alerts can wait. Driver safety can’t!

Make sure your car is set up for comfortable and safe driving. Suppose you notice that you are having to change your mirror or getting uncomfortable quickly while driving. In that case, Carfit is an educational program sponsored by AAA and AARP that offers older drivers the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them. Information on Carfit is available here.

Before going somewhere new, take a moment and go over the route before you get into your vehicle. Your navigation system can help remind you where to turn and the route to take, but it shouldn’t be changed once your car is moving. Going over the directions before starting will help jog your memory of the turns you will have to take during your journey.

For many, their car is their own personal concert area where their favorite music or podcasts play just for them. Playing around with the volume, the playlist or changing from one radio station to the other can take your mind off driving and your eyes off the road. Picking music or a radio station before you start driving will help reduce the urge to change the music. If your car has hand controls on the steering wheel to adjust volume or change stations, use those rather than reaching for the radio controls.

For more information on how to be safe while driving, visit the Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety.