20 Tips To Prevent Distractions and Drive Safely
In our fast-paced world where the demands of daily life keep us on the move, safe driving practices are paramount. Beyond ensuring our own wellbeing, we have an even greater obligation behind the wheel: safeguarding the lives of others who share the road with us. The dangers of driving distracted are well-documented and pose significant risks for drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike.
Today, we’re sharing 20 distracted driving safety tips that can help you become a safer driver and effectively prevent distractions — whether you’re navigating extreme weather conditions or managing the delightful chaos that comes with having pets in the car.
5 Tips for Safe Driving in Extreme Weather
When extreme weather strikes, your best course of action is to stay home — but sometimes, driving is unavoidable. Next time you’re in this situation, keep the following tips in mind.
- Stay visible.
Ensure your break lights are free of snow.
- If you need to speed up or slow down, do so gradually.
Abrupt changes in speed can make your tires slip and spin.
- Avoid driving at night.
The glare of lights on your dashboard or outside your car could make you sleepy.
- Be mindful of the vehicles around you.
A truck can’t brake as fast as a small car can, so if there’s one behind you, try to avoid hitting your brakes too suddenly.
- Check your floor mats.
Improperly installed floor mats in your vehicle may interfere with the operation of your gas or brake pedals.
5 Tips for Safe Driving With Kids
Children are 12 times more distracting to a driver than talking on a cell phone. During the average 16-minute car trip, kids supply 3 minutes and 22 seconds of distractions. Here’s how to make your drive a little bit safer next time you hit the road with a full car.
- Use your rear car seat camera.
This type of camera enables you to check on a rear-facing child in a car seat. You can easily install this one in your dash to ensure safe, heads-up driving.
- Take the time to pull over.
This one may seem intuitive, but many parents' knee-jerk reaction when their kids act up is to quickly discipline them while driving. However, this approach is very unsafe and can lead to accidents.
- Invest in a car seat activity center.
This useful product secures all of your child’s stuff in one place so it won’t clutter up the car or roll under your feet while driving. Plus, it keeps your child entertained!
- Make a driving playlist — or choose an existing one!
Did you know there are playlists on Spotify and other streaming apps that are specifically designed to keep children calm in the car? Try Songs for Littles by Miss Rachel! After all, the calmer the child, the calmer (and safer) the driver will be.
- Ensure that your kids eat and use the bathroom before road trips.
Most car accidents with kids present occur when children are unruly, upset or uncomfortable (AKA distracting). To avoid having hangry children on board (or worse yet, a crash), make sure they eat and go to the bathroom before they get in the car.
5 Tips To Safely Use Tech While Driving
Cutting-edge innovations in technology can help you focus while driving. Here are five ways to harness the power of technology to focus on the road.nd.
- Use apps that reward safe driving.
Apps like OnMyWay and Safe 2 Save promote distraction-free driving using rewards that accumulate over time. Car insurance companies like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive and USAA also offer apps that incentivize safe driving with discounts and lower rates. While enjoying the perks of these apps, you can also stream music and navigate via Bluetooth.
- Eliminate the temptation to use your cell phone altogether.
Phone-blocking tech tools like Apple Driving Focus, Android Do Not Disturb and AT&T DriveMode prevent drivers from making or receiving calls, texts or emails while the vehicle is in motion. Some systems even send automatic text replies or notifications to parents when they’re disabled.
Control your phone with voice technology.
Many modern vehicles come equipped with screens and dashboards that support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. These voice-activated systems allow you to control your phone with simple commands like "Hey Siri" or "Hey Google." When essential functions like navigation, music and calls are at eye level, you won’t need to fumble around in your car for your phone. If your vehicle lacks this tool, you can always purchase it separately!
- Utilize virtual assistant gadgets.
For those who prefer a simpler solution, voice-controlled virtual assistants are an excellent choice. Powered by Alexa, devices like Amazon Echo Auto, Roav Viva Pro, or iOttie Easy One Touch Connect Pro can seamlessly sync with your car stereo system and enable you to make calls, send messages and control other functions using only your voice.
- Turn on car mode.
Apps like Spotify and Amazon Music offer a dedicated car mode for both iOS and Android and simplify the user interface with larger, more accessible controls, and in some cases, voice commands. This way, you can enjoy your music, navigation and other essential functions without taking your focus off the road. Google Maps also has a Google Assistant Driving Mode for a safer and more convenient experience.
5 Tips for Safe Driving With Pets
When we travel with our beloved pets, it's important to consider not only our own safety, but also that of our fellow drivers and our furry companions. These distracted driving solutions prioritize the wellbeing of both the humans and animals in the car, ensuring that each journey is a secure and harmonious experience for all.
- Restrain your pets.
In an emergency stop or collision, a pet seat belt bungee can securely restrain your pets and prevent them from becoming a dangerous projectile inside the car.
- Create a cozy barrier.
Keep your dog from sliding under the seat and getting injured with a pet hammock, which creates a barrier (and a comfortable space!) for your furry friend.
- Reduce impact.
Have nervous or anxious dogs? Impact crates are designed to reduce anxiety and can provide a secure and calming environment that minimizes distractions.
- Safeguard your car.
Installing a dog guard can prevent skittish dogs from jumping up front or over your dog hammock, ensuring your focus remains on the road — not managing your restless pet.
- Keep paws and heads inside.
Establish a rule that all paws and heads must remain inside the vehicle at all times. This simple guideline can help you avoid accidents and ensure that no one attempts to jump out during transit, keeping everyone safe on the road.
Although distracted driving is incredibly dangerous, these tips and tools can help you concentrate on the road ahead and protect everyone on board. Want to see more 30 Days of Change content? Right this way!
Authors: Tyler McKnight, Megan Lambert, Ryan Loftus, Tammy Reyes