I do realize that we can't take every distraction away, especially if there are kids riding behind your seat in your vehicle, but there are a number of distractions you can eliminate. Primarily, I'm talking about your cell phone.
Here are my very simple rules of distracted driving etiquette for those bent on using the phone while driving.
Get out of the way: Should you decide you simply must answer/make a call, send/receive a text or continue a conversation that started prior to starting your car and driving off, please move to the slower lane of traffic (since you won't be able to keep up with the flow of traffic since your mind is not on the road), then think better of what you are doing and proceed onto the shoulder of the highway and put on your flashing lights, turn into a parking lot and stop your vehicle or get off the phone;
Ask first: If you have a guest in your vehicle with you, including your mom, your spouse, your kids, your BFF or anyone else who is living, please ask that person if it's alright with them if you take their lives into your (very dangerous) hands by talking/texting while you drive them around, and then think better of it and don't pick up the phone at all while the vehicle is in D.
Be Polite: If you don't want to offend aforementioned BFF or your boss or a client by not answering your phone at all times day or night, while driving or not, then answer it....that is, with an automated message system that alerts the caller that you are safely driving at the moment and will most certainly call back when you have stopped your vehicle....not at a stop sign or red light or while stuck in traffic, but when you reach your destination or pull over and put your car in P.
Be Tech Savvy. Get a Smartphone so that you can be contacted by phone, text, Twitter, Facebook, email, Skype, etc. This way you will know if there is a real emergency because your phone will buzz and ding, and ring and vibrate, repeatedly. With this kind of emergency, you should definitely answer the phone...after you have pulled off the road and put your car in P, that is. You certainly wouldn't want to receive shocking news of any kind while operating your vehicle, right?
Focus on the Here and Now. Be present in the moment, which does not mean talking and texting to every family member and friend from the time it takes you to drive from home to the nearest Target. This means to relish the silence, if alone in the vehicle, chat with your kids or spouse who are actually riding with you in the vehicle, listen to the radio, maybe even put the window down and let the breeze whip your hair around.
So, what I'm saying is...Phone Down, Eyes Up Saves Lives!
Consider this a challenge from me to you. If you already practice safe driving techniques by not using your phone while operating a vehicle, challenge someone you know to do it too. We are still vulnerable on the roads, if others are driving with distractions! Over and out...