What NOT to do in your car

Tips on how to avoid distractions on the road to make for better and safer driving.

Are you alert enough for the following?
-To avoid a car swerving in front of you.
-To brake for a pedestrian suddenly stepping in your path.
-To steer safely clear of debris falling from a truck.

Motorists are faced with many challenges to their concentration, including the following:

Physical distractions:
-Roadside activities such as accidents, outdoor advertising, construction sites etc
-Personal grooming such as applying lipstick or mascara, combing or brushing hair
-Eating or drinking beverages
-Changing clothing
-Looking for lost or fallen items
-Talking on cellular telephones
-Tuning the radio, tape or CD players
-Conversing with passengers and tending to small children and infants

Mental and emotional distractions:
-Strong emotions of anger and grief
-Driver tiredness/ drowsiness
-Arguments and emotional conversations may lead to further distracting your attention.

What can we do to avoid these distractions?
-Stay focused and alert at all times.
-Practise short quick glances and avoid prolonged staring.
-Manage your time – personal grooming should be done before and after reaching your destination.
-Do not allow passengers to interfere with your concentration.
-Make sure children and pets are properly restrained before you start driving – and give children items to occupy themselves.
-Pull over at a safe spot – such as a petrol station – if small children require attention that could divert your concentration from the road.
-Avoid eating and drinking while driving – fumbling with napkins, wrappers and beverages means you're not watching the road.

How should we treat cellular phones when driving?
There is growing concern of the dangers posed by motorists using cellular phones whilst driving. An international survey amongst 837 drivers with cell phones found that almost half swerved or drifted into another lane, 23% had tailgated, 21% cut someone off and 18% nearly hit another vehicle while using the phone

Best advice is to avoid using cellular phones when driving.
-If you have to communicate via a cellular phone – Use hand free microphones.
-When the phone rings, let it ring! It's better to use your phone's voicemail or even miss a call than to put yourself, your passengers or others at risk.
-If you have to make a call on a hands free cellular phone – ask a passenger to dial or answer the phone for you.
-Keep your calls brief.
-If you expect such a call to last longer than a few seconds – be on the lookout for a suitable spot to pull over.
-Never take notes, jot down numbers or send text messages while driving.
-When in heavy traffic – rather tell the person you will call back when it is safer.

Do not allow technology to divert your concentration!

This advice is brought to you by Arrive Alive.

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