Every driver knows that driving always poses a risk, even in the best conditions. We can never truly account for the actions that another driver might choose to take while on the road, meaning that we must always be vigilant. Distracted drivers pose a constant risk to everyone they come in contact with, including other drivers, pedestrians, and property. While being a distracted driver sounds self-explanatory, the term covers a wide range of definitions. In the most basic sense, being distracted while driving covers anything that a person does that interferes with the safe driving of a vehicle. These sorts of distractions can occur at any time, and while they can always have the potential to be life-threatening, these chances increase during the winter months.
Distracted drivers pose an even greater threat during the winter months when roads can be covered in ice and snow, making already hazardous conditions even more threatening. While some people might understand that distracted driving in the winter months can be a recipe for disaster, other people are not as concerned, which can put everyone at risk. Falling snow makes conditions exceedingly difficult to navigate while black ice can be hidden under snow, unable to be seen with the naked eye. In the winter, we can be more prone to distracted driving by a number of concerns, including looking up the forecast on the phone, watching the snow pile up, worrying about how to get home if certain roads are closed, and many more. It certainly makes sense that we are more distracted as drivers during the winter months, but we need to be more focused on safe driving in these circumstances now more than ever. Below are a few ways to avoid being distracted on the road during the winter months:
Drive slow: while this might sound obvious, several people still drive the same speed in dangerous winter conditions as they do on a bright sunny day. Snow on roads can hide ice and with low visibility levels due to falling snow, fast driving can be deadly for everyone around you.
Stay calm: one of the most important things to remember when driving in harsh winter conditions is staying calm. It can be very easy to see snow falling quickly and get panicked over the thought of driving through it, but staying calm provides you with a clear head and sharper reflexes so that you can traverse the roads more safely. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed, finding a safe place to pull over and collect yourself will be monumentally beneficial in the long run. While driving in harsh winter conditions, it can be easy to think that the faster you drive and the longer you go without a break, the sooner you will reach your destination. A longer trip where you take your time and are focused on the conditions around you has the potential to be safer than one where you speed home due to stress. A panicked driver is still a distracted driver, so make sure you are giving the road all of your attention while navigating tough winter roads.
Put your phone away: countless studies have proven that cell phones cause the highest amount of distracted driving incidents, so paying attention to your phone while you’re also trying to navigate icy and snow covered roads immediately puts you and everyone around you at risk. If there is something you must use your phone for, such as figuring out directions or seeing if there are any road closures, make sure you find a safe place to pull over.