Distracted driving poses a significant risk to road safety, often resulting in accidents, injuries and even fatalities. According to the NHTSA, more than 3500 people died as a result of distracted driving in 2021.
In New York, taking steps to remove distractions while driving can promote a safer driving environment. By prioritizing your focus on the road and minimizing distractions, you can help protect yourself, your passengers and others sharing the road.
Understand the risks
Distracted driving involves engaging in any activity that diverts your attention from driving, jeopardizing your ability to react promptly to road conditions. In New York, distracted driving is a serious offense and can lead to fines, penalties and even license suspension.
To reduce distractions while driving, plan your journey in advance. Think about the things that could distract you and take precautions.
- Silence your cellphone. Turn off or mute your cellphone and store it out of reach while driving. Texting, calling or even glancing at your phone can significantly impair your ability to concentrate on the road. Use the “Do Not Disturb” feature or enable driving mode to prevent notifications from causing distractions.
- Secure loose objects. Ensure that any loose objects in the vehicle are properly secured. Loose items such as water bottles, sunglasses or loose change can become dangerous projectiles during sudden maneuvers or collisions.
- Prepare for your trip. Go over the route, adjust mirrors and climate controls and set your GPS or navigation system before you start driving. This allows you to focus on the road without the need for adjustments or distractions while driving.
- Delegate tasks. Ask your passengers to handle activities such as adjusting the radio, controlling climate settings or responding to phone calls or text messages for you. Have one of the passengers deal with small children, if needed, so you can maintain your focus on driving safely.
By recognizing the dangers of distracted driving and taking proactive steps to remove distractions, you can be more attentive while driving. Stay focused, stay vigilant and arrive at your destination safely.