Since the invention of the automobile, manufacturers have sought ways to improve safety conditions inside the vehicle and road conditions alike. The very first automobiles featured auto glass that was no different than what is found in traditional windows; many early accidents proved deadly due to the fact that this glass would shatter and create shards, injuring drivers. Over the past few decades, however, auto glass has been revolutionized to ensure that these sorts of mishaps do not occur. Likewise, increased safety regulations in automobiles and highways have led to safer conditions for all who use them.
This does not prevent any sort of accident from occurring while on the road – some things are simply unavoidable. There are, however, many types of distractions that can be avoided that would otherwise prove deadly if the driver is not aware of how to handle them. Whether you drive on a regular basis or only need to be behind the wheel on occasion, it is important to be prepared and know what to look out for. In the following article, we’ll discuss common distractions that you’ll encounter while driving and why it’s so important to minimize their occurrence.
Driving and Texting
Until about a decade ago, this type of distraction was relatively unheard of. Multiple studies have shown that using a cell phone to text or read messages while driving impairs you just as much as being drunk behind the wheel, so it comes as no surprise that accidents and fatalities occur on a daily basis due to this activity. Some people have used the excuse that they simply cannot avoid the distraction of the phone while behind the wheel, but there are solutions to this problem.
Several apps have been developed recently that can intercept phone calls, emails and text messages while you are driving, and alert the individuals to the fact that you are currently unavailable. These apps can be found on Android, iOS and other phones’ app marketplaces. Most of them are free and do an excellent job at mitigating any risks associated with texting and driving. If you simply cannot justify avoiding the phone altogether, there are also hands-free apps that can use your voice to type out text messages and respond to emails.
It is important to have access to all five of your senses while behind the wheel, but all too many people ignore this critical advice and instead, immerse themselves in loud music while driving. Who doesn’t enjoy listening to their favorite tunes while driving? One study by Esurance found that the volume of your music matters much more than whether or not you listen to music; it is not the simple presence of music that can lead to driving distractions. With tens of thousands of annual accidents involving automobiles, it certainly is worth pondering how many of these could have been avoiding had the driver not been distracted by loud music.
Again, we’ll emphasize: this does not mean that you cannot listen to music and be safe while behind the wheel. It does mean, however, that the volume should be kept at a reasonable level – one where you can hear the sounds of other vehicles and traffic around you. The same study also noted that music you like is more distracting than music you do not like: this most likely relates to the fact that people tend to “get into the music” they enjoy while driving. If you suddenly feel distracted but do not want to drive in silence, then try listening to a radio station or type of music that you might not otherwise enjoy.
Another distraction over which you will have less control is the elements. Whether it’s rain, snow, wind or thunder, these elements can create driving conditions that make it harder to concentrate on the road ahead. Precipitation may prove to be hazardous when it comes to obstructing your line of sight, while wind can push your vehicle to and fro across the road. Whatever the case, you can avoid these distractions with one or two solutions.
If it is raining too hard for you to see, then the obvious solution is to pull over and wait the storm out. In some cases, you may be able to drive in the rain but loud noises (such as music) can further distract your attention; you should eliminate these distractions from the cabin so that you can focus on the road ahead. Gusts of wind are harder to avoid, so you’ll need to keep your attention focused on driving if it gets too bad. By rolling up your auto glass, you can minimize the effects that the wind will have on you directly.
A variety of driving distractions are just a part of everyday life. It is worth noting that you cannot avoid everything the road throws at you, but some elements can be eliminated from your driving experience altogether, while proper planning can help further minimize the effects of others. If you want to be safe, then be sure to turn down the music, ignore your mobile devices and be ready to act quickly to any inclement conditions that may arise.