Pay Maximum Attention While Driving

Although driving is a common activity, it can be rather dangerous if the driver fails to pay the appropriate amount of attention to what is going on around them. It can be difficult to devote the necessary amount of attention to the road and others on it if distracted by passengers or cell phones. In order to ensure you are paying attention to what is going on around you as you drive, exercise some common methods to keep your focus where it belongs: on the road.


Paying Maximum Attention to the Road

  1. Stow or secure all loose gear before you set off. A common source of distraction is caused by loose items rolling about inside the vehicle as you drive. Ensure you stow all loose items in containers such as the glove compartment or center console before you begin driving.[1]
    • Ensure groceries are stowed safely in the trunk of the vehicle before setting out on the drive home.
    • Make sure anything you keep in the cabin of your car is secure and won’t roll about as you drive.
  2. Finish dressing and grooming at home. Some drivers use their commute time before work as an opportunity to complete their grooming regiment prior to stepping foot in the office. This can be dangerous because it takes your focus off of the road.[1]
    • Make sure to complete shaving or applying makeup at your house prior to leaving for work.
    • Make any grooming corrections once you have pulled over or arrived at your workplace.
  3. Adjust your mirrors before you set out. If you share your vehicle with a spouse or other driver, you may find the mirrors on your vehicle are not set properly for you to see as you drive when you get into the vehicle. Make sure to look at and adjust your mirrors prior to setting off.[2]
    • Adjusting your mirrors as you drive can lead to you being in an accident.
    • Ensure you have full visibility of your mirrors before setting out on any trip.
  4. Check your mirrors frequently. As you drive, you should get into a habit of checking each of your mirrors periodically. This will ensure you have an understanding of everything that is going on around your vehicle and help ensure you aren’t taken by surprise by pedestrians or other drivers.[3]
    • Get into the habit of checking each mirror and your speedometer at regular intervals as you drive.
    • Always check your mirrors before turning or changing lanes.
  5. Pay close attention to drivers around you. Keep track of all other vehicles around you on the road. Whether you’re on a highway with multiple lanes of traffic heading in the same direction or on a residential road with a single lane going each way, keep track of the vehicles around to make sure you don’t lose them in a blind spot.[3]
    • You can lose track of vehicles in your mirrors, but if you’ve been paying attention you should still know where they are.
  6. Look for upcoming risks or obstacles. As you pay close attention to the road around you and other vehicles, you can start to anticipate possible risks or dangerous situations before they present themselves. Try to identify risky situations and act to avoid them before they happen.[3]
    • Look for people or animals on the side of the road and give them plenty of room.
    • Keep track of things going on around you so you can anticipate risky situations before they occur.

Avoiding Distractions Caused by Passengers

  1. Avoid stressful or emotional conversations while driving. Even if you are looking directly at the road as you drive, you can become mentally distracted, which will prevent you from reacting to obstacles that appear in front of you as you drive. If a passenger brings up a subject you feel strongly about, wait until you pull over or park to discuss it.[4]
    • Difficult conversations can distract the driver from things that occur on the road.
    • It can be difficult to pay attention when experiencing strong emotions.
  2. Make sure children and pets are secure. Before setting off on a drive of any length, make sure children are safely secured in car seats and any animals in the vehicle are safely placed where they cannot interfere with the process of driving.[5]
    • Small lap dogs and similar sized pets should be kept off of the driver’s lap while driving to avoid distractions.
    • Make sure all children are wearing their seat belts and unable to move freely within the vehicle to cause distractions.
  3. Keep snacks or toys where your passengers can access them. Children will often fuss if they do not have access to their common snacks or toys during a drive. If you have a passenger that may create a distraction, make sure they have everything they need prior to setting off on a trip.[5]
    • Keep snacks or toys within the reach of children so they don’t attempt to unbuckle their seat belts or leave car seats.
    • Reaching around the car to get snacks or pass things to a child can be extremely dangerous while driving.
  4. Ask passengers to respect that you’re driving. If you are driving with other people in the vehicle, ask that they respect the fact that you would like to drive without distraction. This means passengers should remain in their seats, not move around the vehicle, and not try to gain your attention while you’re driving.[6]
    • Passengers should not attempt to distract you or gain your attention while driving.
    • Passengers should remain buckled up and in their seats while you drive.
  5. Pull over when you can’t avoid a distraction. If something comes up that is unavoidable, such as an important telephone conversation or a discussion that requires the driver’s full attention, simply pull over to avoid allowing the distraction to become dangerous.[2]
    • Pulling over on the side of the road to take phone calls or engage in discussions is safer than doing so as you drive.
    • On many highways, there are rest stops specifically for the sake of phone calls or other things a driver may need to do on the road.

Keeping Electronics from Distracting You

  1. Choose your music or radio station while stopped. Many people choose to listen to music or talk radio while driving, but in order to ensure you minimize distractions, don’t try to change the station or show until you are stationary.[5]
    • Making changes to what you are listening to can distract you from what’s going on in front of you.
    • Changing the station or show while stopped will permit you to focus your attention on the road, instead of the radio.
  2. Use caution when using voice activated systems. If you need to use your phone while driving, always utilize a hands-free device that allows you to communicate without having to control your phone with your hands, which can draw your attention from the road.[6]
    • Remember to keep your focus on driving when using hands-free devices.
    • Never look at your phone to connect a hands free device while you’re driving.
  3. Turn off or stow your cell phone. In order to ensure you are not visibly distracted, keep your cell phones, lap tops and tablets safely stored within the vehicle as you drive. The best way to ensure you cannot be distracted by your cell phone while you’re driving, however, is simply to turn it off. While your phone is off, phone calls will be sent to voicemail and text messages will be saved until you can access them.[7]
    • It is illegal to use your phone for text messaging or other similar tasks while driving in most places.
    • If the phone call is important, they should leave a message you can return upon pulling over.

Related Articles

Sources and Citations

You may like