What seems like an innocuous glance at your phone to change a song or check a text message is 360 ft of opportunity to get in an accident. At 55 mph, you could go the length of a football field without looking at the road in only two seconds.
As we move into the second half of summer, the roads are crowded with vacationers, long-distance travelers, commuters, and soon, college students heading back to school.
Long drives are safest (and more entertaining!) with multiple passengers, but that is not always an option. The opportunity for distraction grows as a road trip continues. Distractions, such as music, podcasts or eating, compounded by growing fatigue and boredom, could be a deadly combination.
With distraction occurring in 36.1 percent of drives, there is a decent chance drivers in neighboring lanes are traveling football fields without looking at the road.
Below are preparations you can make before a road trip to drive distraction-free.
Invest in a GPS device or GPS mobile app if your car doesn’t have one built in.
Plot your route using one of these tools and set them to provide voice-enabled directions. Digital Trends reviewed the best GPS devices currently on the market.
Research traffic patterns and construction along your route, and use tools that alert you to traffic congestion and construction in real-time.
It’s important to become somewhat familiar with unfamiliar routes in the event of unexpected detours, weather or accidents, so you aren’t tempted to do research on the road. RoadTrippers customizes routes based on the user’s preferences such as points of interest and overnight accommodations. TrafficCarma mobile app provides real-time traffic information in certain regions.
Ensure Bluetooth is connected for hands-free phone calls.
However, frequent phone calls are not ideal when you are trying to follow directions; inform those you frequently communicate with to try to email instead of call or text.
Queue up hours of music, podcasts and audiobooks. Set up a playlist on your favorite audio app so you never need to take your eyes off the road.
A mobile telematics program is a useful tool to check during stops on road trips.
EverDrive monitors any risky driving maneuvers you may have on your trip, and gives you feedback on what to improve on as well as the encouragement to do so.
Long drives are often unavoidable but distraction is not.
Other safe driving tips:
- Share your location with at least one person who knows when and where you are driving. It’s an important safety measure; plus, they can give you directions if you are lost or broken down on the side of the read.
- Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. While you can track traffic patterns and weather beforehand, some slowdowns are unavoidable.
- Check your car’s tire pressure, windshield wiper fluid, mileage since last oil change and headlights and taillights. Here’s a simple guide to maintaining your car.
- Confirm your license and registration are in the car.
What safety measures do you take before or during a road trip? Let us know on Twitter @cmtelematics.