Distracted driving accounts for 26% of fatalities on the road, according to the National Safety Council. In 2014, more than 3,000 people were killed and more than 400,000 were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers, reports the U.S. Department of Transportation(DOT).
Texting while driving may come to mind first, but there are plenty of other activities that cause dangerous distractions for drivers. For instance, using a cell phone, eating lunch, putting on makeup, listening to noisy passengers and adjusting the radio can all cause similar distractions and represent dangerous driving situations, according to the DOT.
There’s research showing that true multitasking—giving full attention to two different tasks at once—is impossible for the human brain. When a driver is talking on the phone, for instance, even when using a hands-free device, they’re giving cognitive attention to the person on the other end of the line. Because of that, they cannot give proper cognitive attention to driving cues, such as red lights and street signs. The human brain’s inability to quickly process numerous sensory cues at the same time means that something must give—and often, it’s the driver’s focus on the road.
If you drive with Uber, safety is crucial for you, your riders, and others on the highway. Stay safe and protect your passengers and your vehicle by avoiding distractions while driving. Here are four ways to do that well.
Change Your Habits
Make a commitment to yourself—and to your passengers—to avoid distracted driving whenever possible. That means if you’re in the habit of eating meals while driving, rearrange your schedule to eat between trips. If you’re accustomed to grooming while going down the road, get up a little earlier in the morning to finish getting ready before you leave. And if you often use your phone to make calls or send texts from behind the wheel, stop cold turkey and use your phone when you’re not driving. Those messages and conversations can wait and are not worth the damage they could cause.
Download the App
If you’re worried about missing calls or texts while on the road, download an app like Safely Go, which automatically replies to any calls and texts while you’re driving. The app lets people know you’re on the road and will contact them when you get to a stopping point.
Before you start a trip, determine your route and address any vehicle systems such as GPS, mirrors, climate controls, and sound systems. Get all the adjustments out of the way before you begin driving so you can focus completely on the road and driving conditions.
Ask Passengers for Help
If you find that noisy passengers are a common distraction for you, consider posting a sign in your vehicle that asks (nicely) for passengers to keep the noise down. For instance, you might post something like: “Feel free to visit and enjoy the ride, but too much noise may distract your driver.”
Responsible drivers take responsibility for the safety of their vehicles and passengers, and driving distractedly is not part of the equation. Take steps today to ensure your next trip is safe, without distractions.