April 1st signals the start of nationally recognized Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The goal of this event is to increase awareness of what happens when people don’t pay attention to the road while behind the wheel. In 2015 alone, 3,477 individuals were killed and 391,000 were injured in distracted driving crashes (Distraction.gov). As an online driver education provider, we here at GDL Institute, we take special care to instruction teenagers about safe driving habits. Young drivers face increased risk of becoming distracted. Cell phone use is highest among drivers aged 16-24. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted (Distraction.gov).
So what are the most common distractions? Drivers can be easily distracted by talking or texting on their phones, changing the radio station, applying makeup, eating, or even engaging in conversations with passengers in the vehicle.
Here are some tips to help condition yourself, or your teen driver, to focus on the road:
Be prepared before you begin your journey. Adjust your mirrors, seat, radio, and climate control and input your destination info into the GPS, before you begin driving.
- Eat before you drive. This way, you won’t be tempted to snack while you are behind the wheel.
- Turn off the ringer on your phone while you driving and place your phone out of reach. Out of sight, and out of mind. You can check any messages once you have reached your destination.
- Talk to your teenagers about distracted driving. Encourage your family and friends to take the pledge not to drive while distracted.
Remember, not only is distracted driving a dangerous habit, texting while driving is illegal in Florida and most other states. This month, reflect on the truth that while driving is a privilege, it also comes with great responsibility.