People today like to boast and brag that they can multitask and not miss a beat. Unfortunately, the truth is that study after study proves that multitasking means dividing your concentration, and that always leads to both tasks being done poorly.
Driving is a major responsibility, and it requires all of your focused attention to ensure that you are driving safely and effectively. Many find a myriad of other things to do when they should be keeping an eye on the road, like texting and responding to messages on their phones, adjust the radio station or volume, and even eat complete meals behind the wheel.
If you are a distracted driver, it’s time to put down the distractions and follow these tips to keep yourself attentive to the road.
Put the Phone Down
Driving and texting/emailing/PMing/Tweeting/Snapchatting do not mix. If your eyes aren’t on the road, but fixed on your phone, then you’re not seeing the potential dangers in front of you. Worse still, by not keeping your eyes on the lookout for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other cars, you become the danger on the road.
There are a few apps on the market that help those who feel an unavoidable pull to their phones turn off all distracting apps like Facebook and texting, but the easiest method for correcting this problem is to keep your phone off and away in a pocket, bag, or compartment when it’s not being used to navigate you to your destination.
Choose Your Music Before Driving
We are all accustomed to hearing what we want, when we want, and that means switching tunes while out on the road. Taking your eyes off the road, whether to change a station or to swap out a playlist on your phone is dangerous, even for a second.
Just like you are in the habit of putting your seatbelt on before you drive off, get in the habit of choosing your station, playlist, music or podcast source before you leave your spot and hit the road.
Give Your Brain a Break
We’ve all let our minds wander while on the road, but behind the wheel is not the place to be when you’re discussing or contemplating important issues. Make your car a designated calm place by avoiding conversations that are emotional or taxing, and putting aside intense thoughts. Allow yourself the freedom to focus on the task at hand, and avoid letting your emotions or a deep discussion get the better of you and your attention.
Practice Patience or Just Pull Over
Inevitably, no matter how prepared or careful you are about driving, things will come up when driving that you have to deal with which require you to look away from the road. If it’s something minor that can wait a few minutes to take care of, practice patience and wait for your next stop at a red light to grab that gum out of your bag.
If something is important enough to warrant your immediate attention, safely pull over to the side of the road and then handle the situation before returning to the road.