Avoid those driving distractions

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OUT OF SIGHT: Leave mobile phones where they can’t be reached Photo credit: AFB Elsworth

MOBILE PHONES have become an essential part of life for most people, helping them stay connected and increase productivity. However, this technology can also be a distraction when driving, which puts everyone on the road at risk.

As reported by the National Safety Council (NSC), more than one-quarter of all car crashes involve phone use, both with handsets and hands-free, although it’s believed the figures are much higher.

Distracted driving isn’t just an issue for young adults. High technology use means this is a problem across generations. For professionals in particular, the expectation to stay productive and reachable means a constant temptation to use mobile devices when driving.

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The NSC recommends the following steps to eliminate distracted driving habits.

Automatic response: Use a free automated response app to let callers know that you’re driving and can’t take the call. You can personalise the response so incoming calls or texts receive a text message saying you’re on the road.

Block drive times: Just as you schedule meetings; use shared calendars to block times you’ll be driving. This alerts anyone else connected to your calendar when you’ll be out of touch.

Out of sight, out of mind: A study by AT&T found that 62 per cent of drivers keep their phones within reach in the car.  Put yours where you can’t see or reach it, such as in the back seat.

Pull over: If you must take a call while on the road, let it go to voicemail and pull over in a safe location to return the call.

Avoid all distractions: Mobile devices aren’t the only cause of distracted driving. Eating, grooming and reading are activities people try to tackle while driving. Be smart and simply stay focused on the road.

Driving safely should be everyone’s top concern when behind the wheel. These simple steps can make it easier to resist the temptation to pick up the phone or do another activity that can wait until you’ve arrived, safely, at your destination.

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