How to Pay Maximum Attention While Driving

Driving is a dangerous activity, even if you get a sense of security by being used to performing the activity and being surrounded by metal and airbags. It is really important to pay attention all the time though, for one split second of distraction can result in an accident. That is why we should not text and drive. You may think it is important but really, your life is more important than a text you got from a friend.


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    Avoid fiddling with radio or CD knobs. If you don't know your car's stereo system well, sit down in the parked car and spend a half hour getting to learn it. Use your eyes at first, then practice changing the stations etc. with your hands while not looking. Practice until you can do this confidently and quickly. Another alternative is to only change stations or CDs when stationary at lights, parked etc.
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    Adjust the mirrors to your height and sight before you start the car. This can change from morning to evening, so you may need to adjust more than once a day. Often after a day's work we sit lower than in the morning, from sheer exhaustion and this can reduce the effectiveness of our mirrors by an inch or more! Make sure that you can see things properly out of your mirrors before you drive off each time.
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    Avoid music or radio talk if it distracts you. If you need total quiet to concentrate, forgo the radio and just concentrate on driving.
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    Never wear an MP3 player. You need your hearing as part of all your senses to assist you to drive. An MP3 player is a major distraction, as your brain focuses more on the music than the habitual driving activity.
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    Obey the signals and signs. Watch for indicators, stop signs and traffic lights all the time, not just when you know they are coming up. Avoid speeding up to beat the amber unless you have no alternative but better than that, start concentrating on the traffic light sequence well before you reach it, so that you can slow down gently. And stop signs are there for a good reason; they are attention increasing devices. You stop, you look, you learn about what is happening around you rather than assuming anything.
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    Be conscious of possible problems. Driving is about anything happening any time and you need to remain alert to the possibilities. It is really important to anticipate possibilities - this does not mean the same thing as assume - it means that you must anticipate what might happen next. For example, you see a driver's head in front of you turn one way but they haven't used the indicator. Be prepared for their sudden slowing down and turning because you read their body movement. People forget signaling sometimes and it is wise to be prepared. Anticipate light changes, congestion impacts (driving too close can result in rear-ending during traffic jams), turning vehicles, wide vehicles needing more space, emergency vehicles needing to pass through etc.
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    Avoid talking too much. Talk is distracting. If you feel that your passengers are going to be insulted by your silence, tell them you don't mind them talking among themselves but you can't answer because you are concentrating on driving. This is especially important in congested, peak hour traffic when you are tired.
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    Do not answer the cellphone. Cellphones are distracting. If you must talk in it, use an earpiece and be very familiar with how to work it without having to lose your attention to the road. It is better to avoid phone usage altogether when driving.
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    Avoid eating or drinking. Many accidents occur as a result of reaching for food or drink when driving. And the activity of doing either often requires one less hand on the wheel. Drinking can cause you to put your head back and your eyes don't focus on the road. Pull over, or wait for a stationary place before attempting either action.
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    Be confident about your driving. If you are not, do a defensive driving course to improve your safety skills. A confident driver is more likely to pay attention because he or she knows the limits and strengths of the vehicle under their control. And remember that - the vehicle is under your control. It doesn't drive itself; you are the one wholly responsible.


  • One thing to be very alert of is turning semi-trailers, buses and other very large vehicles. Often they will use the lane next to the turning lane to execute their turn. Do not make the mistake of trying to use the turning lane to go straight ahead when this is happening or you will get crushed.
  • Look twice. Motorcyclists are virtually invisible to the everyday driver. They don't have a cage to protect them in a crash so show some respect

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Categories: Driving Basics