Distracted driving, where a motorist fails to pay enough attention to the task of driving, remains a common and deadly problem in Maryland and across the country. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 3,000 Americans died in distracted driving accidents in 2019 alone.
While you may not be able to control the actions of other drivers, you can take steps to maintain focus every time you climb behind the wheel of your car, truck or SUV. Here are three simple ways to avoid distracted driving.
1. Put your smartphone in the center console
If you have a car accident or another emergency, you want to be able to reach your smartphone as quickly and easily as possible. You do not, however, need the temptation to read text messages or scroll through social media. Placing your smartphone in the center console or glove box should do the trick.
2. Set some rules for your passengers
Whether you have children or drive with adult passengers in the car, you undoubtedly know how distracting others can be. Asking your passengers to behave calmly, keep conversations at low volumes and minimize distracting activities may save both your life and theirs.
3. Keep your food bag closed
While it may seem harmless to reach for a fresh hamburger, eating behind the wheel can be dangerous. After driving through your favorite fast-food restaurant, keep the food bag closed and out of reach until you are parked in a safe location. Furthermore, if you want to drink coffee, water or another beverage, keep its container in the closest cupholder to you.
Even though you are likely to encounter a few unavoidable distractions during any trip, maintaining focus is one of the more effective ways to avoid a catastrophic motor vehicle accident. Ultimately, by forming good driving habits, you do your part to stay safe behind the wheel.