Important information from our colleague and friend Anne Scallon in Milwaukee, on the topic of driver distractions that are often overlooked and how to anticipate and respond to them.
Here are highlights from her interview:
- Ask yourself (or your teen driver) at the beginning of each trip, “What are my priorities for this trip?” The answer should be some version of “get from point A to point B”. Going through this simple effort will trigger an awareness to finish up any business/social contact before getting in the car, and to plan out the best route, etc.
- What are common ways that drivers are distracted that are not texting/driving? The sound of an incoming call signal on your cellphone causes a momentary anxiety and often it is in the moment that we reach for the phone, before we can stop ourselves. Voice navigation apps often give conflicting directions if they begin to “reroute” your trip or if you miss an exit or turn. This new information, coming in audio form, imposes a distraction that is often hard to dismiss and continue focus on the road because it divides attention.
- How do you talk to someone who continues to respond to phone calls and other incoming stimuli while you are a passenger in their car? Parents of teens especially can benefit from the recommendation: direct your teen when he/she is a passenger in a car driven by someone accepting texts/phone calls to ask to stop for a bathroom break or other reason, to get out of traffic. One the car is stopped, your teen can ask the driver if it is possible to stop the behaviors. If not, then your teen should call you (or another family member as you direct) to make other arrangements for transportation. While this seems awkward, it is important to lay it out for the teen to consider what is at stake, and to feel confident should the situation arise where he/she feels threatened or unsafe. This also causes some peer pressure in a good way, for the driver to understand his risky behaviors are noticed.
Being aware of different challenges to driving focus helps keep us mindful.
Watch The Morning Blend interview with Anne Scallon here: