Car accidents happen for many reasons, but one of the most common is distracted driving. Distracted driving comes in a variety of forms including texting and driving, driving with distracting passengers, eating behind the wheel, talking on the phone while driving, and many others.

Each kind of distraction has its own issues. For example, texting and driving takes your mind and eyes off the road as well as your hands off the wheel. Talking on the phone takes your mind off the road and could take your hands off the wheel. Eating takes at least one hand off the wheel, even if you’re thinking about or looking at the road. Each of these actions makes it less likely that you’ll be able to respond in time to avoid a crash or be aware enough to notice that you’re making a mistake when driving.

So, how can you avoid distractions behind the wheel? That’s what we’ll look at in today’s blog. And in the meantime, be sure to reach out to Hadfield, Stieben & Doutt for professional car accident lawyers in Fort Collins. We look forward to hearing from you. Now, let’s take a look at seven ways to reduce distractions while driving.

1. Park when you eat
The first thing you can do is park if you plan to eat or drink behind the wheel. Most people who grab a bite to eat on the road do so by passing through a drive-thru. It’s simple to pull over for a few seconds and enjoy your meal without putting others at risk of injury.

You can also try to skip the drive-thru altogether. Resist the temptation to eat or drink (especially open hot coffee) in the car. Not only could you spill something or burn yourself, but you won’t save much time if you are working to hold a burger, soda, and trying to steer all at the same time. Pull over, eat at home before, or tell your stomach to wait until you get to your destination.

2. Map it out
Make sure you program the GPS before heading to your destination. Use the voice function, so you don’t need to look at the portable device or smartphone to know which direction to go.

3. Groom at home
Give yourself plenty of time in the morning to get ready, so you don’t have to apply makeup or shave in the driver’s seat. Your eyes should be looking at the rearview mirror at the other cars, not at yourself.

4. Familiarize yourself with the car’s controls
New cars often have sophisticated, or overly clever, controls that require some getting used to while driving. (We’re talking to you Cadillac Cue and MyFord Touch.) With any infotainment system with touch screens, make sure you know how to use it or better yet, take some time to set up the radio stations or streaming music, climate, and other controls before you head out.

5. Pull over to take calls
Another good idea is to pull over if you have to take a call. Fiddling around while trying to answer or trying to find your phone on the road puts you at danger. Even if you have to hold the phone up, you’re taking a hand off the wheel and putting yourself and others in danger.

It’s very tempting to respond to the text alerts, calls, and other notifications that sound off while you’re driving, so reduce the urge by putting the phone on silent. If your car has Bluetooth, make sure it’s set up, but keep phone calls on the road limited to emergencies.

6. Get a hands-free device
If you absolutely must take calls on the road, opt for a hands-free device. This keeps your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, so you can stay more focused.

7. Don’t text and drive
Texting, regardless of the reason, takes your eyes off the road and encourages you to think about something else. Your hands may leave the wheel, and it’s likely for you to look away for a period of time long enough to cause a crash.

Distractions come in many other forms besides those above, so it’s important to do what you can to limit your time looking away from the road or taking your hands off the wheel. Even a few seconds of distractions getting in the way are enough to land you in serious trouble and to cause a crash. Contact HSD Law for car accident lawyers in Fort Collins today!