Because April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, you may be seeing information on ways to reduce distracted driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving contributes to approximately 3,500 deaths and nearly 400,000 injuries each year.
As a family caregiver, you’ve got a lot of people depending on you. Of course, you are quite busy and most likely overscheduled, overtired and multitasking as well. Adding in family caregiving duties to an already full day can tip the balance and leave you less than alert. Even so, you must do what you can to reduce any distractions that might affect you each time you get behind the wheel.
What Causes Distracted Driving?
There are lots of factors that can contribute to distracted driving. It’s defined as the condition where the driver’s attention is not fully on the vehicle, the road and other traffic. It only takes a few seconds for a distraction to affect your judgement, reaction time and awareness.
Common distractions include talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, drinking, smoking and adjusting dials or knobs within the car. Other distractions include attending to a passenger (elderly adult or child), accessing a wallet or purse, and trying to reach something in the side or back seat. Distractions don’t have to be physical to cause problems. Many people get distracted when they daydream or experience intense emotions such as sadness or anger. Depression, fatigue and the side effects of medication can also be distractions from safe driving.
Family Caregivers Are High Risk for Distracted Driving
It’s no secret that family caregivers juggle multiple tasks in their efforts to meet the needs of their elderly relatives, plus all their other responsibilities. Caregiver burnout is a real condition and those who care for aging loved ones are more likely to be stressed, sleep-deprived and depressed.
This makes it very easy for family caregivers to participate in distracted driving without even realizing it. To keep yourself and others safe when you drive, it’s an ideal time to review what contributes to distracted driving and pledge to eliminate it from your routines.
Family caregivers like you deal with a lot of responsibilities daily, but there are things you can do to reduce the distractions in your life. One of the most helpful things may be to hire a senior care assistant to help with your aging loved one. If a professional senior care aide can assume some or most of the basic care duties, it would allow you to better manage your time. With reduced stress and fewer demands in your day, your distracted driving issues could improve greatly. During April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, do what it takes to keep you and others safer behind the wheel.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Middleburg, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.