Distracted driving causes severe injuries and fatalities nationwide every day, including Pittsburgh and across Western Pennsylvania. Although you have no control over other drivers and what they do while driving, you can increase your chances of arriving safely at your destination by developing habits that will drive out distractions. Even though it seems obvious, the first step is never to lose sight of the fact that the primary focus is safe driving.
Although many believe that cell phones and other digital devices cause most distractions, other distractions exist both inside and in the surroundings through which your travels take you. Although you might never consider brushing your teeth or shaving during your commute, others might specifically schedule these tasks for drive time.
Valuable tips to avoid distractions
With a bit of effort, you can establish the following safe driving habits:
- Drive during high-energy levels: It is usual for your energy levels to have highs and lows throughout the day, with the lowest energy levels from 2 a.m. through 6 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. through 5 p.m. At 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. you will have peak mental strength, and 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. typically mark the times at which physical strength peaks.
- Driving while tired can kill you: Never shrug off fatigue or tiredness by saying your intended drive is not far and you will be there soon because dozing off for even a couple of seconds can cause a deadly crash. If you become tired, a 10- to 15-minute power nap might lift your energy levels, but if you take any medications, you must take note of the side effects that might include drowsiness.
- Keep an eye out for the unexpected: Always drive defensively and be aware of the fact that other drivers might not be as alert as you are, and you could try to anticipate what they plan to do next. Do not lose sight of the fact that unsafe actions by others could happen in the blink of an eye.
- Make essential items easily accessible: It is a good idea to put vital items such as garage passes, toll fees and toll cards where you can easily reach for them. However, if any of the articles should fall on the floor, never reach for it while driving, but retrieve them once you can pull over at a safe place.
- Avoid hunger while driving: Eating a balanced meal before a trip will improve brain function and concentration abilities during the drive. If you experience hunger pangs after a couple of hours on the road, pull over where it is safe to eat a small meal or healthy snack that can refuel you while you could also make or receive phone calls or text messages at this time.
- Stay hydrated: Always take a bottle of fresh water along on a road trip because staying hydrated is crucial for the regulation of your body temperature, which has a lot to do with staying alert. Frequent sips of fresh water can prevent sluggishness and drowsiness.
- How will you prevent distractions by children? Children can cause significant disturbances, and your need to provide for all their needs might take your focus off driving. Although you can make sure to safely strap your child into a safety seat, you will have to work out ways to keep your child occupied and quiet to avoid distractions.
Despite all your efforts to avoid distracted driving and stay safe, you or your loved ones may fall victim to another driver's distractions. The Pennsylvania civil justice system allows injured crash victims to pursue claims for financial relief if their damages resulted from the negligence of another party. Proving that the other driver was dealing with a distraction could be challenging, but you are free to secure the services of a law firm with board-certified civil trial specialists to handle your case.