Just for a moment, try to imagine yourself behind the wheel of a race car on a super speedway. Now put yourself in the middle of a gaggle of racecars traveling at upwards of 200 MPH. While all of this is happening, picture how you would re-act to an incoming call on your cell phone. Think about the decisions you would need to make within fractions of a second. Things like continuing to concentrate on safely entering and exiting the next turn on the racetrack or answering your cell phone. Of course, this example may appear at first to be a bit extreme, however it does clearly show how some of the things we concern ourselves with while driving an automobile can easily cause even a good driver to become distracted and loose our concentration.
Okay, so let’s put this into the context of everyday driving starting back about 100 years ago when the first cars were being manufactured. Back in the day, there were very few things that were being built into the vehicle that could cause the driver to become distracted. After all, the only optional item back then may have been a heater and controlling that probably wasn’t much of a distraction to the driver.
Over the first few decades, vehicles really didn’t change all that much in regard to features, other than a few basic added conveniences and the control were minimal. As the manufacturing of cars entered into the 1950’s and 1960’s things really began to change rapidly. Optional equipment such as, electric windows and door locks, air conditioning, automatic headlight high-beam dimmers, high speed warning buzzers, 4 track music players followed by 8 track units in the 1970’s and then cassette tape music players in the 1980’s. The addition of these conveniences began to push drivers to divide their time between concentrating on driving and spending time controlling all of these gadgets.
Let’s not forget about the distraction of eating in the car. Talk with a few older folks and you will quickly find out that taking along food in the car is really nothing new. The only difference now-a-days is that today’s car are built with an unlimited supply of cup holders. Think about it, we can’t even go for a quick drive over to the supermarket without taking along something to drink.
When you fast forward into the reality of the host of distractions now facing today’s drivers, it can be a challenge for most any driver. Today, cell phones and MP3 music players are at the top of the list of major driver distractions. Add in that morning cup of coffee, or that fast-food burger, fries and a soft drink.
As you can easily see, the number of possible driver distractions has steadily increased over the years. The key to dealing with these distractions is to simply minimize their impact on your driving habits. You can begin to do this by driving smarter. For example, using a hands-free cell phone is a good way to still be able to talk on the phone without actually having to hold your cell phone while you drive. Another thing you can do is set-up your MP3 player before you leave your driveway. That way you won’t have to mess with it once you’re out on the highway.
Keep in mind that things can happen in a hurry when you’re behind the wheel. The best advice is to stay focused and concentrate on driving.
Frank Canna has been in the detailing business for more than 20 years and is the owner of Mirror Finish Detailing, Williamstown, NJ.