What is distracted driving? Distracted driving occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your primary task: driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of being involved in a motor vehicle crash.
Before You Drive
- Get enough sleep. Be well rested.
- Be familiar with the controls in your vehicle.
- Adjust vehicle controls such as mirrors, seat, radio, heat, or air conditioning.
- Plan ahead, read maps, and check traffic conditions.
- Program directions into your navigation system and enable the voice-activated function.
- Turn off your cell phone when you get in your vehicle and turn it back on when you are done driving.
- Record a voice mail greeting telling your callers that you are driving and will return their call as soon as you are able.
- If you spend a lot of time on the road, organize your route and schedule so you can make phone calls from the parking lot of one location before driving to the next one.
While You Drive
- Do not place or answer calls on a hand-held cell phone. Even if your employer allows them, it is safer not to use hands-free and voice recognition devices while you are driving. If you need to make an emergency call, leave the road and park in a safe area first.
- Do not send or read text messages or e-mails while you are driving.
- Do not program a navigation system that requires you to reach away from the steering wheel or look away from the road.
- Do not reach to pick up items from the floor, open the glove box, or try to catch falling objects in the vehicle. Avoid emotional conversations with passengers that cause anger or stress, or pull off the road and park in a safe area to continue the conversation. For normal conversation, passengers in the vehicle can often help lower crash risk for adult drivers.
- Focus on the road. Do not take your eyes away from the road except for the quick glances you need to stay aware of the driving environment. Crashes often result from simply looking away for several seconds.
Where can I get more information to protect myself and my family from the dangers of distracted driving?
- Visit DISTRACTION.GOV. This site has information that will help you better understand the risks of distracted driving. It also offers tips to help parents talk to their teens about distracted driving, and to help teens talk to their friends about the importance of staying focused while driving.