How to Be “Road Aware”

There is really only one way to be truly safe when you are out there driving on Ontario’s roads, and that is to always keep an eye on the roads and the other drivers around you. The thing you need to do is learn how to be “road aware”. This means not only paying attention to your own driving, but also to that of other drivers, and all of the other things that are going on around you. Remember, it is not always other drivers who are going to be problems, and you have to be prepared for every situation that can arise when you are behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Here is some excellent information about being road aware, so you and your loved ones will always arrive at your destination safe and sound:

There Are Always Going to Be Distractions

No matter where you are going and what road you are on, there are always going to be distractions. The trick is to try to ignore these distractions as much as possible. For example, if there is roadwork going on, don’t try to watch as you are driving. Just keep your eyes on the road, and forget about the work going on around you.

Other Road Distractors And How To Avoid Them

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    Cell Phones

    One of the biggest distractions for drivers today is the cell phone. This can be an incredibly handy little gizmo, but it is not something that should be used when you are driving. Even if you are using a hands-free model so you don’t have to look away to dial numbers, talking alone is distracting, and it is not really necessary anyway. While we’re on the subject of cell phones, remember, you should NEVER text while driving. There are accidents caused by this each and every day, and there have been many deaths attributed to texting and driving, especially among teenagers and young adults. If making a call or a text is really important, either pull off to the side of the road or into a parking lot, or ask your passenger to do it for you if there is someone else in the vehicle with you.

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    The stereo

    Music is another distraction, and you probably should avoid having a radio on when you are driving, especially if you are a new driver. It does not take much to start singing and bopping along to a song you really like, and soon, you will be paying more attention to the music than you are to your driving. If you are going to play the radio or a CD while you are driving, make sure you keep the volume low enough to be able to hear the traffic around you. If you are listening to CDs, do not try to change them while you are driving, as this is a huge distraction.

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    When you are driving, this should be the ONLY thing you are doing. A lot of people think that multi-tasking includes doing other things while they are driving, but this is actually incredibly dangerous. How many times have you seen women applying makeup or doing their hair while they are driving? Or how often do you see men shaving on their way to work because they have woken up late and were in too much of a hurry to do it at home? If you are concentrating on something else, you are not concentrating on your driving and what is going on around you, and you are at a really high risk of getting into an automobile accident.

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    Another thing that can be extremely distracting to drivers is children in the car. There is not a whole lot you can do about an infant screaming, and you will just have to learn how to tune it out and concentrate on the road ahead of you, or pull over until the baby stops crying. Older children, on the other hand, should be taught how to behave properly when they are in a vehicle. Make sure that they are safely strapped into the proper safety seats with seat belts. They should not be moving around the vehicle, nor should they be making noise that is going to distract you while you are driving. If children are not behaving in the vehicle, pull over to the side of the road and handle the situation. Do not try to look back and deal with it while you are driving, because this can very easily lead to an accident.

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    There may be times when you have unruly passengers who are doing things to try and distract you from the task at hand, which is getting everyone home safely. This often happens after a night of drinking and partying, and if you have ever been a designated driver, you have more than likely been in this type of situation. If your passengers have been drinking and are getting loud and rowdy in your vehicle, just do whatever it takes to ignore them as much as possible and concentrate on your driving.

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    Severe weather can be very distracting, especially if there are certain weather conditions happening, such as thunder and lightning storms or hail stones. You may get distracted because you will be watching for the pretty lightning to strike, or amazed at the size of the hail stones hitting the ground and your vehicle. Forget about the storm and just drive as safely as you can until you are able to find someplace to ride out the storm safely before getting back on the road.

Distractions are not the only thing you have to watch out for when you are driving. To be truly road aware, you must be aware of everything that is going on around you. Pay attention to other drivers. Watch out for motorcycle drivers and bicyclists. Take care to give pedestrians the right of way, especially at crosswalks.

Don’t let anything distract you from your main task, which is getting where you are going in one piece.

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