Everyone knows that the road brings with it certain risks. Yet, many don’t realize just how big of an influence they have in how much they can deal with those risks. You can’t stop every accident from happening. However, you can be more prepared for those that you could, giving yourself the precious seconds you need to make a situation much less dangerous or avoid the issue entirely. All you need is the right focus when you’re on the road.
Take care of everything you need to before setting off
A lot of the reasons that you might find yourself distracted on the road are little tasks that you could all too easily get out of the way before you get behind the wheel. For instance, if people are in a rush, then they’re all too likely to try and groom themselves, finish getting dressed or even eat in the car. This takes your hands and often your eyes away from the road. Even when you’re stopped, you need to be able to react to sudden danger on the road. Simply give yourself a bit more time to get yourself prepared before you set off. If you need to find your way, then plan the route before you set off and pull over if you need to confirm it again.
Be ready to react
Focus isn’t just important to be able to correct problems in your own driving. The safest drivers practice defensive driving. This means being aware of all vehicles in your space and the signs that they’re showing. For instance, if you see someone driving particularly aggressive and overtaking, then you might realize that it’s safer to just let them pass and put some distance between you and them. All too often, collisions are caused not only by one driver but another who isn’t paying enough attention to notice the risk that they are posing on the road.
Be aware of other drivers
We’re not just talking about the other drivers on the road. If you’re driving a family car, then you are undoubtedly experienced with sharing the vehicle to a degree. But there is one element of sharing a car that can be dangerous if you catch it before it’s too late. Different people will adjust their chair to their proportions, just as they will do with the rearview mirror. Before you set off, make sure that you’ve adjusted the rearview mirror to fit your own preferences. Otherwise, you might find yourself lacking some important visibility on the road. While it might be a quick fix, it’s one you shouldn’t have to make when you’re in the middle of a journey. You don’t know what could happen in those few seconds you’re taking to realign it.
The limits of visibility
Your rearview mirror is an important component of your overall visibility. But your visibility has limits. As do all the other drivers on the road. Often, that visibility is in large part influenced by the particular vehicle that they are driving. For instance, it’s well known that cyclists and motorcycle riders are in more danger because they are at more risk of not being spotted by cars on the road before it’s too late. The same goes for your relationship to trucks on the road. The reason services like www.robinscloudnewmexico.com/practice-areas/trucking-accidents/ are so prevalent is because that lack of visibility for truck drivers means it’s all too easy to miss cars in their blind spots. So you have to be extra aware of that lack of visibility and drive accordingly. Most appropriately by giving them a wide berth if possible.
Deal with distraction
Not all the risk is on the road, of course. We’ve covered a few of the distractions that you can deal with by taking more time to prepare before a trip. However, there are distractions just as easily caused by the others in the car as well. You need to make sure that anyone getting in the car with you respects your need for focus on the road. It’s a good idea to table any important or emotional discussions when you’re driving as well. Your first, second, and third priority should be driving, not socializing. If you’re sharing with your car with any younger family members, then make sure you drill that lesson into their head. For teenagers, having a new car and the possibilities of driving it around everywhere is exciting. However, they are the ones most at risk from getting in an accident due to distraction. If you have to set rules about not allowing front-seat passengers, then so be it.
No-one should be trying to hold their phone to their head when driving, parked, or in a car altogether. But we should also be careful about just how much we use things like hands-free headsets as well. It’s the conversation as well as the physical limitation of holding a phone that is part of the danger. When driving, you should consider turning your phone off if possible. However, we realize there are times that it just isn’t viable for you to do that. Instead, in those moments, you should be using apps like lifesaver-app.com/ which can block phone usage while you’re driving. If you’re worried about family members, like teenage drivers being distracted by their phone, you can use the app to do the same to them.
Avoid surprises in the car
One of the reasons that phones are so dangerous is that, even when you know they’re on, they can be a surprise that can cause sudden movement and panic. The kind of thing you want to reduce in your driving as much as possible. Those aren’t the only surprises you should be preparing for, either. For instance, any items that you have in the car can become a hugely distracting UFO if it isn’t properly strapped down. More than proving a distraction, it is not unheard of for moving objects to become a serious threat to your safety. If they slide into the front, they can lodge in front of your foot or behind the pedals, which makes it a very dangerous situation.
Sleeping at the wheel
Then, of course, we need to take a look at the outside influences that might very have a negative influence on your ability to drive. One of the most dangerous is the habit of drowsy driving. If possible, you should avoid driving by any means, but we know that isn’t always a viable solution. If you have to drive, then make sure you’re drinking coffee or using other means to keep yourself more alert for as long as possible. You should also schedule breaks every 100 miles between long trips as well. Even if you start off fresh, it’s very easy to get tired out by an endurance run. If you truly feel yourself flagging, then it’s worth considering finding a place to pull over and take a nap. Just make sure it’s somewhere safer than the side of the road.
Avoiding the influence
More dangerous on a more regular basis than sleeping at the wheel is driving under the influence. As www.alcoholproblemsandsolutions.org/drinking-and-driving/ will tell you, alcohol claims thousands of lives on the road every year. We know that driving under the influence is never a good move. But the fact is that we know that when we’re sober. When under the influence, your judgment is impaired. So, you shouldn’t put yourself in the kind of position where you’re possibly going to make the judgment that you should in fact drive. It’s a good idea to find someone else to entrust your keys to before you start drinking, if you bring them at all. If you’re going out, then organize a taxi before you leave or assign someone as a designated driver.
Recognize what your car is trying to tell you
Another reason that it is important to keep your focus on the road when driving is so that you’re able to pick up on what your car is trying to tell you as you drive. All kinds of problems, from replacing the brake pads to having serious engine trouble, come with symptoms that you would recognize if only you were paying the attention to notice them. Not only should you note every new sound, sensation, and blinking light in your car to stop a problem from getting any worse without the right repairs. You should be aware that those same problems can very easily become a danger if you don’t act quickly to address them. Keep your ears open, make sure you’re accounting for any changes in handling or sensation, and start learning what the different warning lights on your dash mean.
There are a lot of reasons that you need to keep your focus sharp at all times, and a lot of risks that can stop you from doing that. If you spot any habits in the points above that you have, then you need to look closer at what you can do to get rid of them.