Common Situations that Distract Drivers on Long Car Trip

The long car trip appeals to some people. It’s an American tradition. You get the family into the car, drive off down the highway, and seek adventure.

car on a road trip

You might visit a city or state you like. Maybe you’ve never stopped there before, but you’ve heard great things. You may also visit relatives you haven’t seen in quite some time.

If you take a long car trip, you should get the vehicle a tune-up before you hit the road. You should also not let anything distract you while driving, or you might cause a wreck and injure yourself or your passengers.

Distracted driving injures 700 US drivers every day, so you must avoid it at all costs. We’ll talk about some situations that can distract drivers on long car trips right now.

The Kids

If you travel with the kids in the car, you might enjoy that. Maybe you’ll talk and catch up with them. You might all live together, but they may stay busy with school while you work all the time. When you’re all home, you might spend time in your rooms or using your smartphones and other electronic devices.

If you have older kids, you might talk to them during the ride about their college plans or who they’re dating. If you have younger kids, though, they might not enjoy long car trips. They might complain, argue, sing, kick the seats, etc.

If so, don’t let that distract you. You must occupy your children in some way so you can watch the road. Don’t look back at them and hit a stopped car ahead. Keep your focus forward and tell them they must let you drive.

You might bring Mad Libs or portable video games to keep them busy while you drive. Maybe you can all play a game if it doesn’t bother you. You might all spot license plates from different states. Just make sure their antics don’t distract you.


You might see some interesting billboards as you drive. Maybe you see some depicting tasty food at the next exit. Some billboards show local DJs or feature jokes that get your attention.

You can look when passing a billboard, but don’t let it distract you, so you hit another car or cause any other accidents. You can look with your peripheral vision, but don’t let a billboard take your attention so much that you don’t focus ahead of you when traffic patterns change.

Your Smartphone

You might have your smartphone with you when you drive. We seldom go anywhere without them these days, so you may have yours in your pocket or up on the dashboard.

If someone texts you, you should not look at that text while driving. If someone calls, you should not answer when you’re driving, either.

If you have a newer vehicle, when your phone rings, the call may come up on the screen. You might accept it, but if you do, don’t let the conversation distract you.

If someone calls, it’s probably best you ignore them till you can pull over and turn the car off. Then, you can call the person back. If you think it’s an emergency, you can talk while driving. Otherwise, you should wait, since that call might distract you.

Your Spouse or Significant Other

You might travel with your spouse or significant other. Maybe they sit in the passenger’s seat and navigate, helping you get where you’re going.

You and your spouse or significant other might converse while you drive. That’s fine, unless you immerse yourself in the conversation too much.

You must focus on the road, even while you speak. If you and your spouse argue or talk about something that’s distracting you, you must tell them to wait and speak to you when you can pull over safely.  

Other Vehicles

Other driver behaviors might distract you. When you drive, you must process information that happens in real-time. Other drivers may sometimes do things that attract your attention. You must not let them distract you to the point where you’re not watching the road.

If you avoid distracted driving, you should get to your destination fine. You can enjoy your visit with your relatives or your vacation activities.

You’ll feel glad you drove safely, and your passengers should appreciate it too. As the driver, you must get them to your destination alive and well. Realize that the moment you start the car and begin your trip.


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