5 Tips for Dealing with Distracted DriversAugust 27, 2014 | in Defensive Driving Online, Defensive Driving Tips, Rules of the Road: Driving Tips
The US Government stated that, in 2011, over 3,000 people were killed in crashes that were a direct result of distracted driving. Although most people are aware of the laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving is more of a gray area, simply because most causes for it are not illegal in most states. As a result it can be difficult to know the right thing to do when you encounter a distracted driver on the road—you cannot simply alert a police officer, as you would if you suspect someone has been drinking, so what is the right way to respond? Here are some tips for dealing with distracted drivers.
Tip 1: Understand What Constitutes Distracted Driving
There are three main types of distracted driving, as stated by distraction.gov. They are as follows:
Manual: taking your hands off of the steering wheel.
Visual: taking your eyes of the road.
Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Many common distractions incorporate all three of these things, making it the perfect deadly combination. Some of the most common causes of distracted driving include texting, talking on the phone, eating and drinking, putting on makeup, reading maps or directions, adjusting music, drowsy driving, and talking to passengers. Avoid doing any of these things, and be wary of other people who might be—especially if you are in the same car.
Tip 2: Drive Defensively
It might be tempting to try and speed up and overtake or even just get angry at a distracted driver, but actually the best course of action is to fight distracted driving with defensive driving. Give them a wide berth on the road, and keep your distance. If someone is not paying due attention they may be prone to braking suddenly, and swerving to avoid things that they may have missed. For this reason, it is important to keep a long distance behind them. If you do want to overtake, make sure that you are cautious.
Tip 3: If Necessary, Alert the Authorities
Obviously you can see what the problem might be with calling the police to alert them of a distracted driver. But if you see someone who is driving erratically, to the point that it is dangerous to themselves and other drivers, you may want to pull over or take down the license plate number and call the police when you arrive at your destination. Of course, this is only necessary in extreme cases.
Tip 4: Don’t Become Part of the Problem
The fight against distracted driving starts with each and every one of us. We cannot directly affect the way that others drive, but we can make sure that we avoid distracted driving by not checking our phones, eating before we leave, or saving that conversation for once you have reached your destination. It can only happen one driver at a time, but if you practice safe driving, and encourage others that you drive with to do the same, we will be able to decrease traffic deaths one person at a time.
Tip 5: Use a Reminder
As you try to prevent yourself from falling into distracted driving habits, try out some different techniques. It might be to give your phone to a passenger, lock in in the glove box, or perhaps a Red Thumb Reminder. Whatever it is, keep trying until you figure out what works best.
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