• How to cut down driver distraction

    Posted on: November 4th, 2013 by admin No Comments

    driving and texting

    In reality the true penalty for getting distracted while driving is way beyond a fine of #30,000 when caught (in Lagos, Nigeria); in some fatal cases, it may be too late to argue whether you deliberately got distracted or not. Bottom-line, according to the Highway Code (which is an FRSC publication) the more distracted you get behind the wheel, the lower your thinking time and also your reaction time.

    Statistics show that major causes of accidents are linked with drivers’ negligence and over-speeding; without a doubt, distracted driving falls under this unfortunate canopy. Nigeria is a country where the recorded number of road mishaps have led to the death of 64,083 people over 10 years from 2001-2011(FRSC). These alarming figures further point to the fact that vehicle owners/drivers have a huge responsibility and could play a role to abate these gruesome statistics.

    So what is SPAMPOLL? A smart acronym which can come very handy to cut down personal driver distraction. Below is a breakdown of each letter which represent a nugget you should take to heart.

    Stay focused: when behind the wheel this isn’t an option, you just have to be 100% focused on driving your vehicle from your home to your destination and back. Why this point comes before the ‘plan ahead’ nugget is because there is no point planning to drive if you know concretely well that you are not fit to drive. We all go through instances of emotional turmoil or maybe just plain depression and people react differently during times like these; some may take it badly or mildly, which ever the case ensure you are psychologically/mentally fit to drive before even planning your trip ahead.

    Plan ahead: for music lovers like myself, even when I am to be driven, I ensure I select the combination of CDs or tracks I plan on listening to a day before to ensure the least possible distraction. The same applies to fueling, necessary daily car checks, route selection etc. Basically align your driving with your set goals you plan achieving for the day or week.

    Avail yourself of convenient technology: The very fast era we live in is quite demanding, and as it seems, truly busy folks always need to communicate whether by making calls or by texting most of the time, even whilst driving. However the truth is if you feel you fall into the category of very busy individuals simply get an extra help; which may come in form of a personal driver or a cheaper mobile solution such as a hands-free medium. I feel quite stunned when I see people making/receiving calls using their hands while driving very expensive ‘full option’ cars they most likely paid a fortune for facilities like Bluetooth connectivity they never get to use. The same applies to other very features like seat massaging systems for lower stress levels, driver assist, the use of side mirrors etc.

    Maintain your car as required: because without peace of mind you are bound to get distracted. Ensure you keep to maintenance schedules, service your engine when due, check your tyres occasionally and swap your brakes when worn out beyond permissible limits, among other maintenance practices.

    Plan your route and know exactly where you are going: starting your trip late may even cause a level of anxiety which can really be a major source of distraction while driving. GPS enabled maps/direction solutions can go a long way to ensure you get around with  ease; however, the guaranteed solution- in most cases practical – is trying as much as you can to have a clear idea of where you are headed and how you plan to get there. In congested cities with unpredictable traffic it’s advisable you always bear in mind options, peak traffic periods and traffic prone spots.

    Observe: while driving ensure you take note of things happening around you, not forgetting the condition of your car! Is it jerking unusually? Or are the bumps having a harsh effect on you? Remember the earlier you spot a symptom the easier it is to solve the underlying problem and chances are that you have managed to eliminate a potential cause of distraction by getting your car fixed on time. Basically be sensitive!

    Love your vehicle interior and keep it clean: because you don’t want to be in a rush to get out of your car. Make your vehicle your safe haven and an ideal comfort zone and you can be sure to keep your distraction levels low.

    Love yourself: Nigerian spare-part dealers in their defense say that they provide mostly low quality stock because of the immediate market needs which are Nigerian car owners seeking relatively cheap products. The truth here is some car owners can be very outrageous in making cost comparisons in a bid to get the lowest prices in their zestful bargains. If you truly love yourself you should know that quality services and products will definitely come with a higher price tag; just take out time to find the right/genuine source(s) of parts you know you will need and the right mechanics or service centers to deal with. 

    Cutting down driver distraction is roughly more than 85% of the driver’s responsibility, the remaining 15% is dependent on what the road offers. Either way, be adequately prepared and informed before stepping hard on your pedal.

    Image credit: www.digitaltrends.com

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