As a Former Special Agent for the U.S. Secret Service, driving is a crucial part of training. You need to know how to handle a vehicle and have the ability to maneuver cars safely, especially when driving around some of the most important people in the world, including former presidents.
Defensive driving is very much highlighted in training. Never be distracted and always remain alert. Know your vehicle’s limitations and respect the road. Maintain a defensive mindset when driving. Why? Because you should never assume other people on the road are driving with the same awareness you are.
With it being National Distracted Driving Month, below are 9 tips on how to avoid distractions while on the road:
- Don’t be complacent. Quite a few accidents happen within a mile of your home. Drivers tend to be lax in the areas that are most familiar to them.
- A good defensive habit when driving at higher speeds is to leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the car in front of you. 10 feet for every 10 miles per hour. This way if the other driver abruptly stops you have enough time and distance to react.
- Use your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” driving setting – which blocks calls and text messages temporarily – and notifies the caller or texter that you are driving and will respond when you get to your destination.
- If your car has a GPS feature, use it! We often rely too much on our phones when using GPS apps, which results in handheld use. You will have a quicker reaction time with two hands on the wheel.
- Lower the music to ensure that you can always hear the sounds outside of your vehicle, such as car horns or emergency vehicle sirens.
- If you must take a call, connect your phone to your bluetooth system to avoid any handheld calls. In some states, it is even illegal to use your phone while driving.
- Avoid reaching. If your purse falls off the chair, or your cell phone slips to the ground, leave it. Trying to reach for it may cause you to take your eyes off the road or swerve out of your lane.
- Talk to your children about the dangers of driving so that when in the car, they know to behave, stay buckled in, and not distract the driver.
- If you are drowsy while driving, pull off the road. Don’t attempt to drive faster to get home quicker.
Evy Poumpouras joined Life360 in March 2019 as a Safety Expert to help further the company’s mission of keeping families safe and connected. Evy is a former Special Agent for the U.S. Secret Service and a national TV contributor.