Tips to prevent distracted driving

Distracted driving means the driver is doing something that takes their attention away from the road. There are three categories of distracted driving:

  • Cognitive distraction means you’re paying attention to something other than driving.
  • Visual distraction occurs when you take your eyes off the road.
  • Manual distraction is when you remove your hands from the steering wheel.

It may sound like it isn’t a big deal but the fact of the matter is that distracted driving accidents injure over 1,000 people every day in the U.S. and kills about nine more.

While reading and sending text messages is the biggest culprit for distracted driving there are other habits your students can identify and break in order to become a more focused driver. Here are some tips to help prevent distracted driving:

  • Plan ahead. Set your GPS, turn off your phone and any other electronics, and set your mind on your trip before you get on the road.
  • Make any needed adjustments to your mirrors, seat, heat or air conditioning, and any other vehicle systems before you put your car in gear.
  • Skip the food and drinks if at all possible; if you’re on a long trip and have to eat stick to neat snacks instead of messy meals.
  • Make sure others in the vehicle (baby brother or sister) and pets are secure before you leave. If you have to attend to them pull off the road first.
  • Do your personal grooming before you get into the car. If you have to brush your hair or remove your jacket pull over and park.
  • Stash any loose gear such as a handbag or briefcase before you leave the driveway. Check your vehicle for anything that might roll off a seat or console and secure it before you leave.
  • If you have passengers that tend to distract you feel free to politely tell them you need to focus on your driving.

Remember, anything that takes your attention from the role of driving is a distraction. It only takes a second to have an accident, so plan ahead and pay attention!

These tips come from which has put together a nice guide about distracted driving. Things that are covered in the guide are: laws by state, apps available, organizations, prevention (particularly for teens), effects of distracted driving (from 10 studies), FAQ and other resources. Check it out here: