We all know how easy it is to be distracted on the road. A passenger can ask a question, your favorite song can come on the radio or your phone can simply buzz or beep alerting you to a new notification. While some distractions are going to occur no matter what you do, the more you do to mitigate distractions behind the wheel the safer you’re going to be on the road.

Eliminating distractions when driving will help keep you focused on your driving, which will greatly reduce the chance of an accident. If you can avoid accidents, you’ll not only be safer, but your insurance will also be less expensive. This means by reducing distractions, you could impact the overall cost of driving your car in the first place. Also, the fact that you’re paying more attention to driving will usually mean you do a better job of driving efficiently, which means you’ll use less gas and reduce fuel costs. With all the benefits to avoiding distractions, it’s a wonder more people don’t take steps to do so. If you want to benefit from eliminating distractions, here’s what you need to do.

Connect Your Phone and Put It Away

cell phone

We’re not going to tell you that you should turn you phone off. This is the best way to eliminate all mobile device related distractions, but too many people rely on their phone for directions, music and communication for that to be realistic. Instead, we suggest connecting it to your car’s infotainment system, if possible, and then putting it away in one of your car’s cubbies or storage bins.

Don’t text and drive, and only answer calls if you can do it hands-free. By eliminating the need to actually handle your device, you’ll be able to pay better attention to your drive. Bluetooth has made it extremely easy to connect your phone to your car’s infotainment system and if you have a vehicle that doesn’t support Bluetooth, consider getting a headset that will enable you to take calls hands-free. This will ensure you have both hands on the steering wheel and can respond to any situation that arises.

Limit the Number of Passengers When Possible

Cars are made to transport people from place to place. Often, this means you’ll have passengers, but those passengers can be distracting. Try to reduce the number of passengers and the number of times you bring passengers with you. If you must take a passenger along for the ride, keep the radio low and try not to get into too involved of a conversation. It can be easy to let your mind focus on the conversation instead of the road ahead. You need to do your best to keep your mind on driving.

If you enter an area with heavy traffic or tricky road maneuvers, it’s fine to politely ask your passenger to wait to continue a conversation until you pass through that area. Most passengers will be cognizant of what’s happening on the road and will likely let you focus on driving when you need to, but never feel like you have to entertain and drive. The driving comes first.

In some cases, your passengers can actually help you get to your destination. Let them navigate. Their hands are free. There’s no reason you should have to do everything. Your passengers can easily input route information into the GPS system or let you know when a turn or exit is coming up. All you have to do is ask them for some help when everyone piles in the car.

Don’t Eat In The Car

stuffing face

It takes at least one hand to eat something in your car. We’re all guilty of scoffing down the occasional cheeseburger on the road, but is the distraction really worth it? It’s better to stop and eat than it is to try and eat and drive. You’ll enjoy the meal more by taking the time to eat it outside your car, and you don’t have to deal with the mess of wrappers and napkins sitting in your car until you get to your destination.

If you must eat in the car, choose wisely. Don’t get something messy and try to pick a meal that can easily fit in the car and be eaten with one hand. Don’t get something like a salad that requires utensils. The last thing you want to be doing is fussing with a fork when you’re trying to navigate a busy intersection.

Get Organized, Stay Organized

organized

Make sure you have everything you need before you set out. If you have to reach to the back seat for something, you’re not ready to respond to the needs of the road. Before setting off, take a second to make sure that you’ll have everything you’ll need for your trip. Forgetting something can be an unneeded distraction. If you’ve left something in the rear seats that you want up front, like a pair of gloves or a ball cap, you’ll be thinking about that or reaching for it while driving. That’s not something you want to be doing.

Also, if you have an organized vehicle, items won’t be shifting around in your car and distracting you while you drive. An item rolling around your back seat or cargo area can be an annoying thing. A good way to handle this is to get a trunk organizer that holds items in their place while you’re on the road. Manufacturers usually offer a trunk organizer or a cargo net with the car when you purchase it. If you opted not to get this item when you purchased your car, you can always buy something online.