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9 Distracted Driving Tips

The best advice for keeping your eyes safely on the road

  • Barry Diomede / Alamy

    Second Thoughts

    En español | Keep your eyes and your attention firmly on the road. At 60 mph your car goes 88 feet — five or six car lengths — every second. And five seconds is the typical length of a distraction, the U.S. government’s distracted driving fact sheet says — long enough to travel one and a half football fields. Here are seven ways to avoid distractions.

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    Hang Up and Drive

    Texting and using the phone are chief distractions. Most states ban texting while driving, and many prohibit handheld phone use. Most modern vehicles have hands-free systems for phone calls, and some will read and reply to texts.

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    Tune Before You Travel

    Load your music onto your phone, and use the Bluetooth feature to stream tunes through your car system. No need to tinker with a separate iPod or other music player or (for old-school types) to fool with a CD or tape. Be sure the radio’s preset buttons are to your liking.

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    Don’t Let Doggies Roam

    Pet safety belts and harnesses, car seats for pets, crates and barriers all are available to keep critters from causing a distraction.

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    Don’t Eat or Drink While Driving

    It’s hard to do, given busy schedules and drive-through coffee and food emporiums, but try. Eating and drinking are among the biggest distractions.

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    Know Where You’re Going and How to Get There

    Visualize the route. Set up your navigation systems before you go. Even so, recognize that using the nav system on the go is another common distraction.

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    Find Your Comfort Zone

    Adjust the driver’s seat so your vision is not obscured by the dashboard or by rear head restraints. Don’t clutter the top of the dash.

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    Look Where You Want to Go

    You’ll unconsciously steer where your eyes are looking, so point your orbs away from that distracting roadkill or tow truck or “Big Sale” sign.

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    Drive Calmly

    When you are driving, the road and your car should have your full attention. Avoid any unnecessary driving — even for a short errand — if you’re emotionally upset about something. Wait till you’ve calmed down before getting behind the wheel.

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