To help drivers keep their attention focused on the road, AAA offers tips to minimize distractions:
• Stow electronic devices. Turn off your phone before you drive so you won’t be tempted to use it on the road. Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone or to send and receive text messages or emails. Don’t text message, access the internet, watch video, play video games, search MP3 devices, or use any other distracting technology while driving.
• Prepare kids and pets for the trip. Get the kids safely buckled in and situated with snacks and entertainment before you start driving. If they need attention during the trip, pull off the road safely to care for them. Similarly, prepare and secure pets in your vehicle before getting underway.
• Satisfy that craving off the road. Eat meals and snacks before getting behind the wheel, or stop to eat and take a break if you’re driving long-distances.
• Store loose gear and possessions. Stash away loose objects that could roll around and take your attention away from driving.
• Get your vehicle road-ready. Adjust seat positions, climate controls, sound systems and other devices before you leave or while your vehicle is stopped. Make sure your headlights are spotless so you can see everything on the road and every other driver can see you properly.
• Get yourself road ready. Before you get behind the wheel, familiarize yourself with your vehicle's features and equipment. Review maps and driving directions before departing.
• Dress for success before you get in the car. Your car isn’t a dressing room. Brush your hair, shave, put on make-up, and tie your necktie before you leave or once you reach your destination.
• Enlist passengers. Ask a passenger to help you with activities that may be distracting.
• Recognize driving requires your full attention. If you find your mind wandering, remind yourself to stay focused on the road.
Laws in California, Nevada and Utah prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones for talking or texting. AAA advises not using a cell phone while driving. But if you must, please follow these tips to minimize distractions.
• Use a hands-free device with your phone.
• Familiarize yourself with the features of your cell phone before you get behind the wheel.
• Use message-taking functions and return calls when you are stopped at a safe location.
• Use the cell phone only when absolutely necessary. Save casual conversations for times when your vehicle is stopped. Plan your conversation in advance, and keep it short - especially in hazardous conditions such as rain, snow or traffic.
• Let the person you're speaking with know you are in a vehicle.
• Do not engage in emotional conversations while driving. Pull off the road to a safe spot before continuing this type of conversation.
• Do not combine distracting activities such as talking on your cell phone while driving, eating and tending to a child.
• Ask a passenger in the car to place the call for you and, if possible, speak in your place.
• Secure your phone in the car so that it doesn't become a projectile in a crash.