You’re in your vehicle driving, and a text from a family member or friend comes through on your cell phone. You know you shouldn’t, but you reach for the phone and try to answer the text while you’re driving. We’ve all done this at some point in our driving careers. But at its core, this type of behavior is dangerous. Any time you take your eyes off the road for even a split second, you put yourself and many other people on the road in harm’s way.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3,500 deaths were caused by distracted driving in 2016. It’s clear that distracted driving has become a major issue in the United States, so it’s important to always practice safe driving, especially when you’re operating an RV.
So what steps can you take to ensure your safety and the safety of everyone around you? Here are some tips you can follow to avoid distracted driving in your RV.
Designate a Second-in-Command
Choose a significant other, family member, or friend to be your second-in-command or co-pilot in the RV. This person can assist you in many ways, including:
- Operating electronics – Typing information into a GPS or fiddling with the buttons on the radio are things you as a driver should not do. Your co-pilot, however, can be the person who manages the radio, takes phones calls and answers text messages, and types addresses into the GPS.
- Looking out for landmarks and signs – While you’re driving and trying to keep an RV on the road, it’s easy to miss turns because you’re traveling on unfamiliar roads or are unable to read signs in enough time. As such, your co-pilot should pay attention to signs and even landmarks, to assist you in navigating the rig. They can even lookout for spots to stop for breaks and meals.
- Dealing with other passengers – Your co-pilot can help keep pets secured as much as possible, which will keep you from getting distracted and keep animals safe from getting hurt when you have to suddenly brake. For the same reasons, your helper should also attend to the needs of any children who may be traveling with you.
Do Your Part as the Driver
While it’s great to have a second-in-command helping to keep your distractions at bay, there are precautions you as the driver should take as well. For example, while driving, you should avoid:
- Checking your phone
- Getting into intense or emotionally charged conversations
It takes discipline to be a safe driver these days, but it’s important that you put safety first when operating an RV or any vehicle.
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