Lesson 1: Managing Distractions
Welcome to the next step in learning to drive! This module will focus on distracted driving, its causes, its effects, and ways to manage them.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is attempting to operate a vehicle while performing any activity that diverts your attention from the primary task of focused driving. Distractions include anything that takes your eyes off the road or that takes mental concentration away from driving.
How would you react? Let’s take your decision-making skills to the road.
Imagine you’re driving on a rural, two-lane road in the early morning. You turn a corner and the sun appears head on, making it difficult to see anything, much less the road ahead. If only you could reach your sunglasses, which may be in the backseat. What would you do in this situation?
Choose the action you’d be most likely to take:
- Quickly turn around and look in the backseat for your sunglasses.
- Adjust the sun visor so you can see the road. Pull over at the next safe spot to locate your sunglasses.
- Keep driving and hope the sun moves out of the way soon so you can actually see the road.
The correct answer is to adjust your sun visor so you can see the road. Then when it’s safe, pull over to find your sunglasses.
Before you get in the car, make sure you can devote your full attention to driving. Take care of potential distractions before or after your trip, not while you’re behind the wheel.
Five Ways to Avoid Distraction
- Turn your phone off, and store it out of reach
- Set your navigation / GPS in advance
- Have passengers adjust the A/C and radio stations
- Keep a calm atmosphere in the car
- Pay attention to the road
Lesson 2: Impaired Driving
In this lesson: Discover the dangers of driving while impaired.
Don't Drink and Drive
No doubt you’ve heard these words countless times. And, no wonder. It’s still the most serious problem threatening the safety of our nation’s roadways.
The term impaired driving applies to more than just alcohol. It includes driving a car while affected by illegal drugs, prescription drugs, drowsiness, or alcohol.
Alcohol is a factor in nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities, making it the deadliest impairment.
How would you react? Your friend drove you to a party, and you notice she’s had a few beers. It’s time to leave, but you’re not sure she’s OK to drive home safely. You only have a learner’s permit, so you driving you both home isn’t an option.
Choose the action you’d be most likely to take:
- Have her drink a few cups of coffee to sober up before driving home.
- Call a ride share company to pick you both up from the party.
- Your friend seems fine, so let her drive you home as planned.
The correct answer is find another way to get home for you both. Even a few drinks could cause your friend to be impaired, which could result in a crash. Remember to always designate a responsible driver who won’t be drinking.
Now let’s examine the problems associated with driving when you’re tired.
It’s just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Impaired driving is a nationwide problem, but with awareness and action, we can do our part to help lower the number of accidents that result.
Lesson 3: Scanning for Hazards
In this lesson: Learn to scan your surroundings to view the entire traffic scene as you drive. Discover the dangers of driving while impaired.
Watch for Hazards
Scanning will help you to remain alert and prepare for hazards or traffic issues ahead. Look ahead for signs of trouble. Watch the brake lights of cars both ahead of you and in other lanes. Start braking early if you see traffic slowing down.
- Look at least a block ahead for city driving, or a quarter-mile ahead for suburban or rural driving.
- Glance slightly to the left and right of the road.
- Check your rearview and side-view mirrors every five to eight seconds.
- Turn to look over your shoulder to check your blind spots, especially before changing lanes.
Scanning the road will help you easily avoid most hazards. Keep practicing it whenever you drive, and it’ll automatically become part of your safe-driving routine for life.
Continue with the next module, Residential and City Roads.
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The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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