You might listen to the radio, glance at the billboard while on the freeway or hold a conversation with a passenger. All of these can be considered normal and minimal distractions while you’re driving. So, when do distractions or other situations call for your undivided attention and require you to pull over?
When It’s Time To Pull Over
Minimal distractions can turn into ones that warrant your full, off the road attention. Reduce speed, signal and pull over to the side of the road when:
- When you are engaged in a heated discussion. Whether you are debating the latest political race or arguing with your significant other, having a heated discussion can pull your attention away from the road for an extended period of time. Pull over and finish your discussion before heading back out on the road.
- When you have to lean over to pick something up. Taking your eyes away from the road for even a second while traveling 65mph means your car is traveling 100 meters without your attention. A lot can happen during that time. Pull over and find the CD that got lost on the floor of your car.
- When you need to make or take a phone call. Even if you have a car-integrated cell phone system that allows you to talk on the phone without your hands leaving the steering wheel, answering a call while driving can be a distraction. Install an app that turns all cell phone activity off while you’re in the car or pull over to take the call.
- When you smell smoke or see flames. Whatever the reason for the smoke or flames, it’s important for you to stop your car immediately and get yourself and your passengers to safety. Get a safe distance away from your car and call 911 for help.
- When you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you. Heavy rain, snow, smoke or fog can hinder your view and allow you only a short distance of visibility. When your visibility is reduced (and especially if you are no longer comfortable), reduce your speed and pull over to the side of the road to wait until your sightline improves.
Make sure you are paying attention to your comfort levels while driving. Chances are that if you feel uncomfortable or find yourself more engaged in a conversation than driving, you should pull over. Listen to your nervous system and drive safely!