Close up of a person's hands on a steering wheel

8 Ways to Maintain Focus Behind the Wheel

Living in the digital age comes with many technological luxuries that we enjoy today. However, with the advancement of technology comes a relative decrease in the human attention span.

This means that it is more difficult now than ever before to remain focused on one task at a time—especially for long periods. While it may not be your fault that you have trouble focusing on the road, it’s important that you take the steps necessary to maintain your concentration on driving.

If you find that it is challenging to focus when you’re behind the wheel, there are a number of steps you can take that can help you maintain your concentration. Read on to learn eight tips for staying focused while driving.

#1 - Make a firm commitment not to use your phone while driving.

There are seemingly endless benefits to being able to use a smartphone at almost any time. However, using your phone while driving may provide more negative effects than positive ones.

Sadly, 3,142 people lost their lives in 2019 as a result of distracted driving behaviors. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous. In order to read or send a text, you must take your eyes off the road for at least five seconds. When you’re driving at a rate of 55 miles per hour (mph), that is the equivalent of traveling the entire distance of a football field without looking.

As if that’s not enough to convince you that cell phone use behind the wheel is seriously dangerous, studies show that one in four drivers were using a cell phone within a minute before an accident, potentially including the moment the crash happened.

What’s more, each day in the United States, about eight people lose their lives to distracted driving behaviors, including cell phone use.

#2 - Know where to go before you head out on the road.

It’s good practice to think about and prepare your route in your head before you start driving. This may seem like common sense, but when you have a ton of things you’re thinking about when leaving the house, considering how to get where you’re going may fall through the cracks before you put your foot on the gas.

If you don’t already know how to get where you’re going, set your global positioning system (GPS) device with your destination’s address before you take your car out of park. Sometimes you may need to adjust your route after you’ve already started driving. When this is the case, it’s best to pull over when and where it is safe to do so and make the necessary adjustments.

#3 - Create some playlists to help keep your mind active.

Your favorite music and podcasts can be a great way to help you stay focused on the road. These are safe distractions that keep your mind from wandering, and thus, help prevent you from using unsafe distractions, such as looking at your phone.

Keep in mind that your audio should never be so loud that you are unable to hear a siren approaching. Listening to music or podcasts at high volumes is fine, but make sure that you always pay attention to easily spot approaching emergency vehicles.

#4 - Set your phone to Do Not Disturb mode.

If you find that you have trouble keeping yourself from looking at notifications as they come in while you are behind the wheel, setting your phone to Do Not Disturb mode while you’re driving can be a good solution.

That way you aren’t tempted to look at your phone and check the notifications as they come in.

Additionally, it can be a good idea to change your settings so that you reduce the number of notifications you receive from the applications on your phone. It’s in your best interest to only have notifications turned on for the alerts that are most important to you. Many people find their phones to be less of a burden when they limit the number of notifications they receive.

#5 - Ask your passengers to help you maintain focus on the road.

If you have passengers in the car with you, it’s a good idea to ask them to help you stay focused on the road. This lets your passengers know that you not only care about their safety but also that you are aware of how dangerous distracted driving is.

Doing this can also help your passengers get your attention if you get caught up in telling a story, for example. Sometimes storytelling can take you right back to where you were when the event occurred, and you may not always immediately realize it. However, if it happens while you’re driving and your passengers are paying attention, they may be able to help calm you down and bring more of your focus back to driving.

#6 - Don’t attempt to multitask.

Multitasking is a lie. There is no such thing as multitasking. What you’re actually doing when you think you’re multitasking is rapid switch-tasking. The human brain is only physically capable of focusing on one task at a time.

When you try to multitask while driving, what you’re actually doing is engaging in distracted driving. There are three central types of distractions, including:

  • Visual
    • You are visually distracted anytime you take your eyes off the road.
  • Manual
    • You are manually distracted when you remove your hands from the steering wheel.
  • Cognitive
    • You are cognitively distracted when your mind is on anything other than driving.

Note: Reading and sending text messages while driving is particularly dangerous because you are engaging in all three types of distractions simultaneously. You must take your eyes off the road to look at the phone, you must use your hand(s) to hold the phone, and you must use your brain to comprehend what you are doing on the phone.

#7 - Never drive drowsy.

Driving when you’re tired may seem innocent enough, but it’s actually extremely dangerous and should always be avoided. Keep in mind that caffeine is never an adequate substitute for getting enough rest.

If you find yourself getting drowsy behind the wheel, it can be helpful to turn on the fan or air conditioner. Alternatively, you may find it useful to roll down the window for some fresh air.

Either way, having air circulation throughout the vehicle can help your brain maintain alertness.

#8 - Keep your pets secure.

Driving with pets in the car is not always easy. Some pets get restless, even during quick drives around the block. Be sure to secure your pets before you hit the gas.

For more anxious pets, it may be a good idea to install a gate so that your pet can’t reach you while you’re driving. The last thing you want is to get into an accident as a result of a distraction related to your fur baby.

If You’re Hurt, We Want to Help

Getting injured as a result of a car accident due to another’s negligence is unacceptable. You deserve to be fairly compensated for your losses.

If someone else’s recklessness caused an injury-sustaining crash, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled team right away to learn how we can help.

Call our firm today at (512) 400-3278 or fill out the online contact form to learn more about your options.