Prevent Distracted Driving with These Four Actions

Distracted Driving

By Amy Bernstein, Employee Safety Specialist

Distracted Driving


Distracted driving is everywhere. How many times have you said the following while driving:

  • It was just a quick call.
  • It was just a quick glance.
  • It was just one text.
  • It was just a short email.

Even if your company has a distracted driving awareness policy, it’s easy to use that tiny word — “just” — to make it seem that a distraction is OK.

But it also takes just a few seconds for a distraction to turn into an accident. Follow these four steps to prevent distracted driving and improve safety on the road.


1. Put your phone away.

One out of every four car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationthere were 3,142 traffic fatalities due to distracted driving in 2020.

You might say to yourself, “It only takes a few seconds.” But what does a few seconds actually look like?

If you’re traveling at 55 miles per hour and you glance down for just five seconds, you’ve traveled the length of a football field without being aware of your surroundings.

It’s not just about texting, either. Even if you’re using hands-free technology, you see only a fraction of the road if you’re focused on texts or calls.

Keep your attention where it belongs — on the road. Preprogram your GPS, silence your phone and choose your music before you start your drive. If you must take a call or send a quick text, pull over first for your safety and others’.


2. Avoid multitasking.

The next time you’re out for a drive, observe how often you see people multitasking while driving — eating, putting on makeup or any number of activities. Admittedly, all of us have probably done many of these tasks while driving.

The reality, however, is that multitasking is a myth. To prove it, let’s try a little experiment. Ask someone to follow these steps:

  • Count out loud from one to 26.
  • Sing the alphabet from A to Z.
  • Try multitasking — combine the above (1A, 2B, etc.)

How did you do? Step three was exponentially harder, wasn’t it? Think about how this could impact you when you are driving. You’re talking on the phone and don’t see the stop sign. You reach for some fries and don’t notice that car in your blind spot as you switch lanes.

No matter how coordinated you are, multitasking on the road is a dangerous choice.


3. Speak up.

When operating a vehicle, we generally think it’s only the driver who is responsible for getting us safely to our destination. However, as a passenger, you have a right to speak up for your safety and others’ if the driver is not practicing safe driving.

The National Safety Council outlines four practices copilots can use to ensure they and their drivers get to their destination safely:

  • Speak up if you feel the driver is distracted or is doing something dangerous.
  • Say no to any behavior that draws your driver’s attention away from the road.
  • Prevent distraction for the driver. Operate the radio, GPS and ventilation. Watch for signs, landmarks and traffic problems.
  • Get home safely and allow everyone else on the road to do the same.

As a passenger, you may not be in control of the vehicle, but you can still be in control of your safety.


4. Take the Just Drive pledge.

The National Safety Council encourages everyone to take the Just Drive pledge against distracted driving. Take the pledge with your friends, coworkers and family members for Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is honored every April, or any time of the year.

You can also download posters, fact sheets, safety talks and more from the National Safety Council for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.


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