The dangers of distracted driving affect thousands of lives each year. Are you taking the proper steps to ensure a safe driving experience for you, your passengers and others on the road?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the numbers are all too real, with 3,154 people killed in 2013 in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. While many states have adopted laws to crack down on phone usage behind the wheel, real change starts at home, with drivers pledging to adopt simple safety measures and ensuring family members also make the commitment.
As advocates for safe driving everywhere, the car experts at Edmunds.com offer these tips for safe travels behind the wheel:
Limit the distractions: While it's always a good idea to have a phone with you in case of a breakdown or other auto emergency, keep distractions out of sight while driving. Switch your phone to silent, put it in airplane mode or turn it off completely before you enter your vehicle. Placing your phone in the glovebox, the backseat or the trunk (or even just in a bag) can also stop the temptation of answering your calls or texts, so you can focus on the road instead.
Just drive: Many other activities can also be distracting in the car, such as eating, drinking, managing your entertainment or even putting on makeup. Make sure your car is used only for getting you from Point A to Point B. Save the other activities for your destination.
Make it a family priority: Discuss the responsibilities that come with driving a vehicle and the hazards that accompany distracted driving. Set rules for your whole family so teen drivers know that you, too, are engaged in creating a safe zone in your own vehicle. Be a good role model even before your children are old enough to drive so they witness only good habits.
Set a reminder for safety: Place a sticky note on your phone or a photo of a loved one in a non-obstructive location in your car to remind you of your commitment to safe driving. Owners of the Apple Watch can download Edmunds.com's free app, DrivePromise by Edmunds, which is free and allows users to upload a photo of a loved one. The app will then detect if the wearer is in a moving vehicle and bring up the photo as a psychological reminder to drive safely.
Don't be a passive passenger: Spreading the message about safe driving doesn't stop when you're in the passenger seat. If you're in a car with driver who is using a phone, ask that it be put away — for everyone's safety.
Become an advocate for safe driving. Tell your family, friends, neighbors and everyone you know about the dangers of distracted driving. Check out DrivePromise by Edmunds.
And remember that safer roads start with smart, focused driving.
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