Distracted driving is a serious problem in the U.S. It results in around 10,000 fatalities a year, many of which would never have had to have happened if not for being distracted behind the wheel.

Distractions come in many forms. Though people often think of distractions as looking at a cellphone or texting a friend, there are other ways to be distracted such as:

  • Eating behind the wheel
  • Taking medications that make you tired or that make it hard to concentrate
  • Drinking and driving
  • Using recreational drugs
  • Texting
  • Calling someone
  • Arguing with a passenger
  • Looking at a crash or incident outside your vehicle instead of ahead of you

Every one of these distractions, and others, can lead to serious consequences if a crash occurs. So, what can you do to avoid being distracted behind the wheel?

First, plan your route. It’s smart to plan the route to include stops when you need them and to have a route that avoids heavy traffic. Always start your GPS before you start moving instead of trying to use it while you drive.

Next, choose your radio station or music before you get moving. Then, put away your phone, or at least put it out of reach. Finally, if you do get drowsy, want to eat or get thirsty, pull over and stop to take care of those needs.

It is up to everyone on the roads to be safer so that all drivers and their passengers can get home safely. It may feel like a hassle to put away your devices or to have to focus only on the road, but doing so could save a life and protect your own.