In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA has released its top 10 tips to avoid distractions while driving.
According to the most recent data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distractions were responsible for vehicle crashes leading to more than 3,000 deaths and 387,000 injuries in 2011.
Here are AAA's top 10 tips to avoid distractions while driving:*
- Fully focus on driving and do not let anything divert your attention. Actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Store loose gear, possessions and other distractions that could roll around in the car, so you do not feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
- Make adjustments before your drive. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
- Finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
- Snack smart. If possible, eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. On the road, avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage.
- Secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the backseat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
- Don't use cell phones while driving – handheld or hands-free – except in absolute emergencies. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games or the Internet with a wireless device, including those built into the vehicle, while driving.
- If you have passengers, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.
- If another activity demands your attention, instead of trying to attempt it while driving, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place. To avoid temptation, power down or stow devices before heading out.
- As a general rule, if you cannot devote your full attention to driving because of some other activity, it's a distraction. Take care of it before or after your trip, not while behind the wheel.
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