Inattentive driving can be caused by many different distractions behind the wheel:
People using a cell phone while driving has a 34 percent higher risk of having a collision. Studies suggest that drivers who use car phones face an accident risk nearly as great as that of driving drunk.
The accident risk of using a hands-free model is just as great as using a hand-held phone. Your primary mission while behind the wheel is driving, and you must pay attention at all times.
Please refer to your company’s policy on mobile phone use. The same rule should apply to mobile dictation and recording equipment.
Do not play a radio so loud that you cannot hear the sounds your vehicle is making or the horns or sirens of other vehicles. It is particularly dangerous to wear headphones while driving. You may not realize your turn signal is still clicking, or you may not hear a noise that means something is wrong with your vehicle's engine. If you cannot hear other vehicles, horns, or sirens, you may have a collision that you otherwise could have avoided. You should not play a radio or other sound system so loud that it can be heard 50 feet away from your vehicle.
You cannot have a television in a motor vehicle in a location where the driver can watch it. Do not be tempted, on a long drive, to watch a video on your cell phone. Anything that distracts your eyes from the road is dangerous.
It is very dangerous to remove a coat or jacket while driving. Other activities such as applying makeup, reading maps, or reading the newspaper while driving is also dangerous. These types of activities can place you in serious danger of a crash.
It is dangerous to eat or drink while driving. A hectic schedule can put pressure on you to grab a quick lunch at a drive-up window, but you are far safer to pull over and park while eating in your vehicle than to eat while you drive. Your reaction time is slowed if an emergency arises while you have one hand on the wheel, your other hand around a sandwich or a soft drink you are worried about spilling.
Drivers paying attention to the road reduce their own risk of involvement in collisions.
- Assess traffic conditions. Project your vision far ahead to see what the traffic is doing well in advance of your current position. This gives you more time to assess and ultimately react smoothly to changing traffic patterns and conditions.
- Reduce speed and increase vigilance during inclement weather such as snow, rain, and sleet, and during dark periods. Be alert before, during, and after dawn and dusk since visibility can be hampered.
- Use good sunglasses during daylight hours to reduce glare where appropriate and available.
- Maintain adequate following distance based on the equipment or car you are driving. The higher the speed, the more you should increase the following distance. Also, inclement weather requires more following distance than good weather.
- Avoid driving when upset, arguing, or conversations requiring deep thought.
- Maintain proper lane and lane usage. Slower traffic in the right lane is appropriate for multilane highways. Check mirrors and be aware of surroundings before any lane change maneuver. Use signaling before changing lanes.
- Do not read or take notes. The same rules apply for dictation and recording equipment.
- Any activity that will diminish your attention to the road should be done while your vehicle is stopped.