Avoiding Distractions whilst Driving

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It is important to stay alert at all times – and to act with extreme caution when climbing behind the steering wheel of a vehicle. Notimages (57) only does the driver have to avoid distractions – but passengers have to ensure that they are not the cause of such distractions. To test your concentration as driver you need to answer the following questions:
  • Are you always prepared to avoid a car swerving in front of you?
  • How about braking for a pedestrian who suddenly steps into your path?
  • Can you steer safely clear of debris falling from a truck?
Types of  driver distractions posing a risk to road safety
  • Physical distractions
Physical distractions are actions the driver might perform, actions by his passengers or technology in the car – and also distractions outside the vehicle that could divert the attention of the driver away from safely driving the vehicle.
  • Mental and emotional distractions
Mental and emotional distractions may cause a driver to be more aggressive and less tolerant to other drivers. He might also become less attentive towards environmental conditions and hazards on the road.
Most common distractions Physical distractions:
  • Roadside activities such as accidents or vehicles stopped by police/ traffic officers
  • Looking around at outdoor advertising, construction sites etc
  • Reading maps or newspapers
  • Personal grooming such as shaving, applying lipstick or mascara, combing or brushing hair
  • Eating or drinking beverages
  • Changing clothing
  • Looking for lost or fallen items
  • Flying insects
  • Talking on cellular telephones
  • Checking pagers
  • Tuning the radio, tape or CD players
  • Conversing with adult passengers
  • Tending to small children and infants
  • Smoking
Mental and emotional distractions:
  • Strong emotions of anger and grief
  • Driver tiredness/ drowsiness
  • Arguments and emotional conversations may lead to further distracting your attention
How to avoid distractions
  • Stay focused and alert at all times
  • Practise short quick glances and avoid prolonged staring
  • Never read whilst driving – rather pull off the road to read
  • Do not attempt to change or pull off clothing while driving
  • Conduct personal grooming before leaving or after reaching your destination
  • Do not allow passengers to interfere with your concentration
  • Make sure children and  pets are properly restrained before you start driving – and give children items to occupy themselves
  • Use pet carriers or portable kennels to restrict the ability of animals to roam around in the vehicle.
  • Pull over and stop if small children require attention that could divert your concentration from the road
  • Avoid eating and drinking while driving – fumbling with napkins, wrappers and beverages means you’re not watching the road.
  • Plan your trip in advance and allow yourself time to stop and have a bit to eat.