HOLLYWOOD, Md. – Let’s face it- we’ve all done it. We’ve caught ourselves driving down the road and we get distracted one way or another. Whether we’re trying to scarf down breakfast on the way to work, attempting to appease rowdy toddlers in the back seats, and even checking our phones. Although addressing other situations around us while driving may seem like a commonality, it is an extremely dangerous act.

The truth is, we can’t multitask when we’re driving. Taking our attention from the road can end in serious injury and even death. In a recently developed distracted driving simulator, it was mentioned that in a recent year nearly 3,500 people died in crashes as a result of distracted driving and 391,000 more were injured.

Major highways across the nation are affected by car accidents every day and we become more susceptible to these occurrences when we divide our attention between responding to a text message and the road. One way to think about how deriving yourself from paying attention to the road is by considering how long it takes to read and respond to a single text message. Try to consider a few tips to reframe from falling subject to distractions.

Plan Ahead

Instead of rushing through breakfast in your car after purchasing a combo meal from a fast food restaurant, consider getting up a littler earlier to prepare your breakfast. Not only can you enjoy a healthier meal and save a little money, but you aren’t distracting yourself on the road and adding to the trash in your vehicle.

Another great way to plan ahead is catching the local morning news for traffic reports. This way you’re well-informed of any issues that could potentially delay your arrival. Many tools have been developed in order to assist motorists of real-time traffic updates in order to commute their best routing options.

Go Unplugged

Most office jobs require you to already be on the computer all day so this is a great opportunity to step away from a screen for a bit. Take advantage of this opportunity by putting on your favorite playlist. This can help boost your moral and keeps you from indulging in texting or checking your social media. Try putting your phone in the glove compartment or in your dash to alleviate any desire to pick it up and check your newsfeed.

If you’re uncomfortable with turning off your phone, try to put yourself on “Do Not Disturb” or turn your phone to silent; this way you won’t be tempted to answer a phone call or text message during your commute.

Manage Your Backseat

When traveling with passengers be sure to set ground rules before you start driving. Respectful passengers will understand to keep your volume to an appropriate level and limit your attention from the road.

When dealing with younger passengers, it’s important to keep them occupied. A helpful hack of keeping a bag with snacks and perhaps smaller toys can keep them from calling for your attention when they feel like they need something. This is a scenario where distractions are a good thing in the car; after all, they’re not the ones driving.

Taking proactive steps will assist you in healthier driving habits. Giving the road your undivided attention keeps your passengers and other motorists the upper hand when considering their safety.