Distracted driving leads to hundreds of thousands of avoidable accidents per year

In a 2015 study, the NHTSA published a report indicating that during the year of 2010, distracted driving caused 3,267 fatalities, 735,000 nonfatal injuries and damaged 3.3 million vehicles.

The NHTSA makes a point to track these statistics because most, if not all, of these accidents could have been avoided.

In an effort to do our part in reducing such car accidents, we’ve come up with a basic list to help drivers avoid distracted driving.

1. Limit use of your cell phone while driving

Every single cell phone related accident is avoidable. Firstly, do your best to avoid using your cell phone at all while driving.

Obviously, this isn’t entirely possible in some cases. Try to limit use to things you can do with one finger and your eyes on the road.

A car mount for your phone can easily help you avoid excessive use and keep to the one finger / eyes on the road rule.

2. If you might need directions, get them before you begin to drive

It can be very dangerous to deal with navigation while driving. Whether you are using a map, GPS device or your cell phone, get everything set up and organized beforehand.

If you do not have a maps app or other device, print out easy to read driving instructions from a service like Google Maps prior to starting your journey.

If you’re using your phone or another device, get an exact address beforehand and input it into the device. Making stops on the way? Most apps allow you to program these in.

Often, even if you do not need directions, these applications can help warn you of hazards or traffic ahead and could be used to help get where you’re going safely.

3. Do not eat while driving

Even if you keep your eyes on the road while doing so, eating while driving can be very dangerous. Eating tends to occupy at least one of your hands and can lead to slower reaction times.

Often, eating while driving can lead to a situation in which the driver needs to make a choice between using both hands (and dropping their food) or inadequately responding to a potential collision.

Given that such indecision, even if brief, can lead to an otherwise avoidable accident, we recommend no eating while driving. If you must eat while driving, eat something that can be consumed one-by-one (e.g. trail mix or chips).

4. Avoid any unnecessary distractions in the car

Don’t multi-task. Have a phone call that can wait? Take it after you stop. Playing music on your phone? Set playlists instead of choosing songs one-by-one. If your car has auto-climate features, these can save you a few turns of the knob while driving. Additionally, be sure to set your mirrors and seat position before your trip.

5. Keep pets in crates

Even though your dog looks adorable hanging his head out the window, it is very unsafe to have pets loose in the car.

Keeping your pets in a crate while driving is safer because they can behave unpredictably and cause undue distraction.

Crating your pets while driving is also safer for them too, and your drool-covered-windows will thank you.

6. Don’t drive drowsy or inebriated

Driving drowsy or intoxicated can make it much tougher to keep your attention on the road. If you become tired while driving, it may be best to take a short break.

Any Walmart will allow you to stay in the parking lot through the night. Take advantage of this if you feel drowsy.

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