(Family Features) The dangers of distracted driving affect thousands of lives each year. Are you taking the proper steps to ensure a safe driving experience for you, your passengers and others on the road?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the numbers are all too real, with 3,154 people killed in 2013 due to distracted driving on the road. While many states have adopted laws to crack down on phone usage behind the wheel, real change starts at home, with drivers pledging to adopt simple safety measures and ensuring family members also make the commitment.
As advocates for safe driving everywhere, the car experts at Edmunds.com offer these tips for safe travels behind the wheel:
Limit the distractions. While it’s always a good idea to have a phone with you in case of a breakdown or other auto emergency, keep distractions out of sight while driving. Turn your phone on silent, “airplane mode” or off completely before you enter your vehicle. Placing your phone in the glove box, the back seat or the trunk – or even just in a bag – can also keep the temptation of answering your calls or texts at bay, so you can focus on the road instead.
Just drive. Many other activities can also be distracting in the car, such as eating, drinking, managing your entertainment or even putting on makeup. Make sure your car is used only for getting you from point A to point B, and save the other activities for your destination.
Make it a family priority. Discuss the responsibilities that come with driving a vehicle and the hazards that accompany distracted driving. Set rules for your whole family so teen drivers know that you too are engaged in creating a safe zone in your own vehicle. Be a good role model even before your children are old enough to drive so they witness only good habits.
Set a reminder for safety. Place a sticky note on your phone or a photo of a loved one in a non-obstructive location in your car to remind you of your commitment to safe driving. Tech savvy owners of the Apple Watch can download the DrivePromise app created by Edmunds.com, which is free and allows users to upload a photo of a loved one. The app will then detect if the wearer is in a moving vehicle, bringing up the photo as a psychological reminder to drive safely.
Don’t be a passive passenger. Spreading the message about safe driving doesn’t stop when you’re in the passenger seat. If you’re in the car with an individual using their phone, ask them to put it down for their safety and for yours.
Become an advocate for safe driving, and tell your family, friends, neighbors and everyone you know about the dangers of distracted driving. Safer roads start with smart, focused driving. For more information on staying safe on the road, visit http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/.
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