4 Other Things that Make You a Distracted Driver

distracted driver

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I love road trips, but sometimes a long drive or even a short one to the store can be a bit boring. In this day of smartphones we know a few ways that we are distracted drivers. But you probably don’t realize that you are a distracted driver in other ways.

 

Distracted Driver Awareness Month is going on right now in April. The message, U Test, U Drive, U Pay is about texting and driving. And that is a critical issue. However, did you know there are other ways you probably don’t realize you are a distracted driver?

 

In honor of Distracted Driver awareness month, I’m sharing a few things I’m guilty of and I’m sure if we’re honest, some of you are too.

 

This post was originally published in April 2016 and updated in April 2018.

 

#1 – Eating while Driving

Let’s face it, there are drive-throughs for a reason. But paying attention to your food means you are not paying attention to the road. While traveling long distances, if you can’t pack a meal to eat, park and get out of the car. Your eyes need a break from the stretch of highway anyway and you can stretch your legs.

Related: How to eat Healthy while on the Road

# 2 – Music

I am love with Spotify and my SiriusXM stations. Unlimited music from the 80’s? Do you really have to ask? One thing I’ll admit to being guilty of is trying to find the right song or playlist on Spotify. This is the same as texting and driving as I have to fiddle with the playlist. My solution is to load up my road trip playlist before putting the car in gear that will last me for a long time, with a lot of variety and motivation to keep going. Or I just turn it to 80’s on 8… you know what I’m talking about!

Related: All American Play List

#3 – Maps

Seriously, how did we get anywhere before Siri told us where to turn? It’s so important to not pick up your phone and look at the map. If you don’t have a passenger or navigator, be sure to get your route ahead of time. Look it over first, turn by turn so you have an idea, and then have the map tell you where to go. Same with your dash GPS if you have one. If you don’t, you can sync your phone to your car and have it dictate to you. I don’t always trust the maps that come with my phone. I like to use Waze, which recognizes traffic patterns, obstructions and will re-route as necessary.

 

#4 – Children

Yep, those kids are a distraction. Talk to your children before taking a road trip and explain your expectations for behavior in the car. Children as old as 3 can understand that yelling is a distraction. Provide them with ample activities to do. Put older children in charge of tasks to get them involved and invested in the road trip. Things such as Cooler Commander – in charge of drinks and Snack Master. As they get older, they can take charge of Master Navigator and Rest Stop Resource.

 

Another note on children… if they become a distraction, pull over. Don’t turn around to address issues and don’t threaten with the “Do I have to stop the car?” Just do it. Nothing shocked my kids more than when I pulled over without speaking. (Probably more scary than yelling is when mom doesn’t say anything.) They realized we won’t continue moving until they got under control. Do this a couple of times and they’ll quickly realize they’re only slowing their progress of “Are we there yet?” When you do stop at a rest stop, remind them of the expectations in the car and what happens when they distract you, you can’t drive.

 

Fess up… What other ways have you been a distracted driver? No judgement here, but let’s all Take the Pledge to not just put our phones away but eliminate other things that make you a distracted driver.

22 thoughts on “4 Other Things that Make You a Distracted Driver”

    1. Great point! There are some stretches of highway that I’d love to abolish billboards in. (But I know it’s a way some farmers make extra money by having them on their land too)

  1. I was basically the driver of my Western Australia trip last month and about your 4 things:
    1. Food – which my companions was so “nice” to feed me a happy meal from Mcdonald’s drive thru, the only tricky thing – fries and make-up… no, ketchup.
    2. Music – I need that! Yes, I do, it keeps me awake. I have my own song list and it only distracts me when someone’s trying to mess with my list.
    3. Maps – no can do. I needed help with that.
    4. Children – somehow they have been professional sleepers in a car on a road trip~ blessed. @ knycx.wordpress.com

  2. Very informative article. Kids can definitely be a distraction. We have to tell ours all the time to keep the noise down and that I can’t hand them snacks when I’m driving.

    1. It does get easier, but that’s why I let food rules go during a trip and make them in charge of their own snacks.

  3. Yes, I agree.
    Probably you could add huge billboards?
    I also get distracted by beauty surrounding us especially if we are going on hilly roads. 🙂 That’s too dangerous!

  4. Great post, there are many ways to be distracted. We love to stop along the way for our road trips as you are so right about eating, plus finding a nice place to stop and eat adds to the trip! And it doesn’t have to take that long, and it is those 15 or 20 minutes that can save lives!.

  5. These can all be distracting, I agree. It took me a long time to come up with a system where I could eat without taking my eyes off the road. I do stop to get the food and coffee, buy stuff that I can eat without taking my eyes of the road, and have them unpacked and ready before I go. Or, if I have a copilot, they do all of that for me 😀

    The music part can be distracting, but I can’t really drive without it. It keeps me focused on longer drives. The rule is I either listen to the radio and whatever comes on is fine, or I use CDs I know I love and I don’t have to worry about switching songs.

  6. Pingback: How to have a Successful Family Road Trip | Detail Oriented Traveler

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