You probably know that texting or using a cell phone is distracting and could lead to a crash, but what about the conversations you have with passengers? Passengers can be as distracting as listening to the radio, talking on the phone or not paying attention, so it’s important to understand what you can do to minimize distractions when they’re present.
Conversations with your passengers create a potential for distractions inside your vehicle and could result in an auto accident. Occupants such as teens, other adults, infants or children might all cause you to become distracted when you drive. How distracted you get will depend on factors such as if you have to look away from the road and if the conversation is emotionally charged.
How do you know that the conversations in your vehicle are too distracting?
You will know that a conversation is too distracting if you find that you:
- Are having to quickly stop because of not seeing upcoming hazards
- Aren’t maintaining the right position in your lane
- Have reduced situational awareness
- Can’t focus on what you’re doing
- Miss a stop sign or other traffic signals
If you find that your conversation is taking your mind off the road, then you should pull over as soon as possible or end the conversation.
What can you do to minimize distractions from conversations?
One of the better things to do is to talk to the occupants in your vehicle about reducing distractions. It’s normal to have conversations, but you can ask them not to scream or try to scare you while driving, for example. You may ask others to stay quieter if loud conversations make it hard for you to focus.
Some people prefer putting on the radio or playing their own music when they drive, which may help them focus on the road instead of distractions within the vehicle. If you do, let your passengers know why and what to do if they need to talk to you during the drive.
Finally, if you have children, do your best to prepare them for the drive. If they begin to cry or have an emergency, you should pull over to deal with the problem before continuing. This will help you avoid a collision due to in-vehicle distractions.