Distracted Driving is the cause of more than 3,000 deaths per year according to the US Government. Most people are aware of the laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Distracted driving is more of a gray area, simply because most of it is not illegal.
As a result, it’s hard to know the right thing to do when you run into an annoyed driver on the road. You can’t just tell a police officer like you would suspect someone was drinking. What’s the proper way to respond? Here are some tips for dealing with distracted driving.
Tip 1: Understand What Causes Distracted Driving
There are three main types of distracted driving, as stated by distraction.gov. They take your hands off the wheel, take your eyes off the road, or take your mind off driving.
Many common distractions combine all three of these, making them the perfect killer combination. Some of the most common causes of distracted driving include:
- Talking on the phone
- Eating and drinking
- Put on make-up
- Read a map or directions
- Customize music
- Talk to passengers
Avoid doing any of these things, and be aware of other people who might be—especially if you’re in the same car.
Tip 2: Drive Defensive
It may be tempting to try and speed up and overtake or even get angry at distracted drivers. The best course of action is to counter distracted driving with defensive driving. Give them a wide berth on the street, and keep their distance. If a person isn’t paying proper attention, they tend to brake suddenly, swerving to miss things they might have missed. For this reason, it is important to keep a long distance behind them. If you want to overtake, make sure that you are careful.
Tip 3: If Needed, Notify Authorities
Obviously you can see what the problem is by calling the police to tell them about the distracted driver. But if you see someone driving erratically, you might want to pull over or take their license plate number. Call the police when you arrive at your destination if they get to the point where it is dangerous to themselves and other drivers. Of course, this is only necessary in extreme cases.
Tip 4: Don’t Be Part of the Problem
The fight against distracted driving starts with each of us. We can’t directly influence how others drive, but we can make sure we avoid distracting driving by not checking your phone, eating before you leave, or saving the conversation after you’ve reached your destination. This can only happen to one driver at a time, but if you practice safe driving, and encourage others you drive to do the same, we will be able to reduce traffic fatalities one person at a time.