I have written a lot in the past several months about several laws that Illinois legislators have passed to help make the roads safer. This includes the ban on cell phone use and the ban on texting while driving. While these new laws are helpful and will hopefully make the roads safer, there are several little things that can help make you a “heads up” driver. AAA recently issued a press release that discusses simple steps all drivers can take to help make the roads safer. Take a look at the below list. These may seem obvious, but they can protect you, your family and, of course, other drivers.
- PLAN AHEAD. Read maps and check traffic conditions before you get on the road.
- STOW ELECTRONIC DEVICES. Turn off your phone before you drive so you won’t be tempted to use it while on the road. Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone or to send and receive text messages or emails.
- 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 additional attention during the trip, pull off the road safely to care for them. Similarly, prepare and secure pets appropriately 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 driving long-distance.
- 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 better. Keep your windshield clean and remove dangling objects that could block your view.
- 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.
- GET YOUR BRAIN IN THE GAME. Focus on the task at hand – driving safely. Scan the road, use mirrors and practice identifying orally what you just saw to enhance your engagement as a driver. Really focusing on maintaining your thoughts about the road, when you’re on the road, can help you improve your overall awareness and behavior as a driver, and help you see the importance of ‘being in the game.’ AAA offers classroom and online defensive driving courses that directly address distracted driving and offer tips for maintaining attention while driving.
- EVALUATE YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR FROM THE ‘OTHER’ SIDE OF THE ROAD. When you’re on the road as a passenger or a pedestrian, take a look around and honestly evaluate whether you engage in poor driving behaviors that worry you when observed in other passengers or pedestrians.
- USE NEW TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE YOU A BETTER DRIVER. Sharpen your ability to respond quickly to risks on the road. The AAA Foundation recommends all drivers improve their reaction times and managing attention on the road by using DriveSharp, a computer program proven to improve reaction time and stopping distances. With quicker responses, you can avoid the distracted driver who might end up in your lane.
If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accident or an Illinois truck accident, then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384.