Distracted Driving: Six Reasons We Take Our Eyes Off The Road
There’s no doubt that distractions while driving can cause accidents that could be avoided. Safe driving requires focus so we should do our best to avoid anything that affects our concentration. Here we look at just some of the possible distractions we may face while driving – and how to avoid them.
Using your mobile phone in any capacity while driving distracts you from concentrating on the road. An Garda Síochána state that “[the] risk of collision is four times higher if using a handheld mobile phone while driving”. If charged by the Gardaí you could end up with as much as four penalty points and a €2,000 fine if the fixed charge notice is not paid. It’s best to put your phone on silent before setting off so that you won’t be tempted to use it until you safely reach your destination.
If you have downloaded a navigation system to your phone it’s very important to ensure you have your phone mounted in a position that won’t cause you to be distracted looking for the next direction. Make sure you have the volume up so you can listen to the instructions rather than risk taking your eyes off the road.
It’s a legal requirement to safely restrain your dog in the car in Ireland. AA Ireland advises that there are a few methods you can consider for this. For smaller dogs a pet carrier can be used but it’s important to make sure it’s secured with a seatbelt in case of an accident. For larger dogs, a harness clipped into the seatbelt slot or a metal guard to secure the dog into the boot can work well for 4x4, hatchback or estate-sized vehicles.
Dealing with children in the car could prove a huge distraction so planning ahead is a good idea for all involved. It goes without saying it’s vitally important to make sure all kids are buckled up safely for the duration of the journey. Packing snacks, drinks, toys and books before you hit the road should prove to be a good distraction for the children and not you.
Eating on the run is something we’ve all done at some stage. It goes without saying though that eating or drinking while driving will mean only one hand on the steering wheel, making it harder to react on time should anything unexpected occur. It’s a lot safer to take the few minutes to safely eat your snack before leaving a shop’s carpark or a garage’s forecourt.
Adjusting Climate Controls
Often in Ireland we can experience four seasons in one day. With this in mind, adjusting climate controls is a given every now and again. Unfortunately, this does mean taking your eye off the road, and even if it’s just for a brief moment, it’s still enough time to cause an accident. It’s best to wait until the car is stopped, whether it be at a traffic light or in a carpark, just to be on the safe side.
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