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8 Tips to Stay Focused while Driving.

As you’re rushing to get through one more errand, your GPS suddenly won’t accept the address you want to go to, and your toddler in the backseat starts screaming because her bottle went flying. You thought it would be fun to bring your pet poodle on your errands, but now he has hopped up on the seat next to you, begging to be petted. Meanwhile, your mind is working overtime trying to figure out how you’re going to find a babysitter for that night.

Distractions. Inevitable in life, they can be dangerous or even deadly when you’re behind the wheel. Distractions can be outside the car, inside the car, or simply in your head. They can scream out to you “Pay attention to me!” when the reality is that you need to pay undivided attention to driving.

Why should you eliminate distractions while driving? Those seemingly innocent distractions can easily cause a collision. This isn’t simply a remote possibility; in just one recent year 3,477 people were killed because drivers got distracted. Unfortunately, that shocking statistic is backed up with another: another 391,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. (nhtsa.gov)

How can you stay focused – and stay safe? Here are some of our favorite tips for putting the distractions aside and focusing on the job at hand.

Tips to stay focused behind the wheel

#1 Train your brain. In this era of multitasking, we expect our brains to be able to simultaneously handle eating, talking on the phone, and getting work done. It is easy to get into the habit of not focusing completely on any one activity. While that’s probably not going to be dangerous when you’re sitting at your desk, losing your focus while you’re behind the wheel could have devastating effects. So practice focusing on just one task at a time. You are sure to see your concentration skills begin to improve.

#2 Plan in advance. Whether you’ll listen to your favorite radio program, a special album, or an audiobook, program it before you start the ignition. Also, if you’ll be using some type of GPS system, take a few minutes to program it ahead of time.

#3 Save the goodies for later. Do you get hungry while driving? Those few distracted moments when you are reaching your hand into a bag of potato chips – or even worse when you try to clean up a spilled soda – can cost you more than you think. Avoid eating while driving.

#4 Personal grooming sessions. This one is simple: don’t do your hair while driving, and wait until you’re parked to put on your lipstick or mascara.

#5 Protect your pooch. Traveling with your pet? Whether you’re taking them to the vet or out for a day at the park, your "best friend" should not distract you while driving. Make sure your pet is in a traveling cage or safely harnessed so that they don’t harm themselves or distract you while you’re driving.

#6 Park your phone. You’ve heard this so many times that perhaps you have mentally tuned it out, but it’s a fact: your phone is your enemy while driving. Turn it off, program it to mute, or lock it away in the trunk of your car, but definitely keep it out of your hands while you’re driving.

#7 Eliminate small hazards. Loose items in the car, from a wobbly bag of groceries to a rolling flashlight, can be another distraction. You certainly don’t want an orange rolling under your feet while driving, so make sure everything is in its place before you start the car.

#8 Enlist help. When you travel with passengers, ask them to help you to remain focused. If they don’t distract you while driving, you’ll be able to concentrate on the road better. So, whether it’s your toddler begging for attention, or your best friend telling you a juicy bit of gossip, let them know that your priority is getting to your destination safely.

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