Whether you drive a sedan, a pickup, an SUV, or a van, safety should always be your biggest concern. Unfortunately, however, driver distractions are higher than ever before – and the distractions keep on growing! Distractions put you, your passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians in serious danger. While you know that driving requires your utmost attention, it’s easy to get sidetracked by distractions.

In order to ensure safety remains your top priority, here are five tips that will help to reduce distractions that you should practice every time you get behind the wheel.

Put the Cell Phone Away

Cell phones and driving don’t mix. Those text messages, emails, and all of the other notifications you receive can wait. If you find it hard to resist the lure of your phone, turn off the sound on incoming notifications while you’re driving, or just turn your phone off! Wait to check your phone until you arrive safely at your destination.

Go Hands-Free

Go Hands Free 1024x683 - Tips to Reduce Distractions While DrivingIf you must make phone calls while you’re driving, make sure you are using it hands-free. There are so many options available that will turn your phone into a hands-free device, including Bluetooth technology, a car speakerphone, or a basic earpiece and microphone. Using one of these devices will allow you to keep both hands where they should be while you’re driving – on the road!

Use GPS

Instead of fumbling through maps and reading directions, invest in a wireless heads-up display (HUD). With this type of technology, all you have to do is sync the device to your phone and it will transmit step-by-step instructions directly onto your windshield so you can reach your destination without ever having to take your eyes off the road.

Avoid Playing with the Radio

Tunes and driving go hand-in-hand; however, constantly changing the stations can be a real distraction when you’re behind the wheel. Try to avoid fiddling with the radio as much as you can when you’re driving. If possible, leave the DJing to a passenger, or invest in a vehicle that has controls for the radio mounted on the steering wheel.

Try Not to Eat

When you’re constantly on the go, it can be hard to fit in a meal. Sometimes, it feels like the only chance you get to eat is when you’re traveling from one destination to another; however, believe it or not, eating behind the wheel can be dangerous. You only have one hand on the wheel (and at times, you may take both hands off the wheel!) and bits of hot food can fall onto your lap, causing serious distractions. If you have to eat while you’re in the car, pull over! Not only will you be able to enjoy your food a bit more, but you’ll drastically improve the safety of your driving.

Keep Must-Have Items in Reach

If there are any items that you’re going to need or want to use while you’re driving, make sure you keep them nearby. Gum, money for tolls, beverages; put them in an easy-to-reach spot before you start up the car.

With these tips, you can significantly reduce distractions while you’re behind the wheel and ensure you’re driving safely.

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Also published on Medium.