Everyone gets distracted here and there, and the monotony of driving can make us especially likely to lose our focus. Distracted drivers are everywhere, and pose serious risks to other motorists; ICBC found that a quarter of all fatal road accidents are caused by distracted driving. Here are a few ideas to help you become a safer, more attentive driver.

Sleep

Driving while sleepy will increase your likelihood of a crash by nearly four times. Drowsiness is a serious impairment, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you find yourself feeling sleepy behind the wheel, simply find a safe place to pull over and have a nap. Even a quick nap will leave you feeling refreshed and get you to your destination safer.

Cell Phone Use

In British Columbia, using a cell phone while driving is illegal. The law forbids the use of a cell phone in any situation where you are in control of your vehicle, including stopped at a red light or in bumper to bumper traffic. If you find yourself in a situation where you desperately need to use your phone, you should find a safe place to pull over and turn the vehicle off. While hands-free devices are permitted, they can lead to motorists missing important audio cues from the road. Even hands-free devices should only be used in emergency situations.

Passengers

Passengers can distract us just as much as cellular devices or sleepiness. Make sure that the passengers in your vehicle understand that their safety is dependent on you being able to focus on the road.

Food

Eating while driving can lead to disaster. Not only does the act of eating take some of your attention away from the road and at least one hand off the steering wheel, but food spills or burned tongues from hot coffee are common causes of serious accidents.

Rushing

When we are in a hurry, it can be easy for us to lose focus on what really matters: getting to our destination safely. If you find yourself driving impatiently or more aggressively than usual, try to take a deep breath and remember that safety is the top priority.

Humans can only truly focus our attention on one thing at a time. Don’t let distracted driving make you into another statistic. If you think you are guilty of one or more of the distractions listed above, or you’ve noticed that someone you know is prone to distraction, try to eliminate the causes of distraction and keep your attention on the road.

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