How to Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving, or, driving while distracted (dwd) is frequently in the news, in the legislature and on everyone’s mind. The US Department of Transportation held a two-day Distracted Driving Summit in September 2009. Canada held an International Conference on Distracted Driving. “Distracted driving” is even Webster’s New World College Dictionary 2009 Word of the Year. What is distracted driving? Webster’s defines it as “use of a cell phone or other portable electronic device while operating a motor vehicle”. this persons right

What can you do to avoid distracted driving?


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    Turn off your cell phone/pager/dvd player/other device. The best way to avoid being distracted by your phone or device is simply to turn it off and put it away while you are behind the wheel.
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    If you cannot turn your phone off due to family or work reasons, use a hands-free device. Although this solution does not eliminate distraction, it will allow you to respond without having to look away from the road or remove your hands from the wheel.
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    If you leave your phone or device on while in the car and receive a call or text your feel compelled to answer, pull off to the side of the road before doing so.
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    Ask a passenger to handle calls for you. This will leave your hands free and engage less of your attention.
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    Install software on your phone that automatically starts when you drive, and responds to calls and texts on your phone with a message that you are driving and will get back to the caller later.


  • Some companies now offer phones with safe driver software already installed. This software comes on automatically when you start driving and sends automated responses to phone calls and texts, telling the caller that you are driving and will respond when it's safe.


  • Before you answer your phone or text while driving, be aware of the state and city laws and ordinances about the same. Many cities have already made it illegal to text and drive.
  • Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Distraction from cell phone use while driving (hand held or hands free) extends a driver's reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (University of Utah)

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Categories: Defensive Driving Skills & Safety