The dangers of distracted driving: Tips to stay safe on the road
Distracted driving is a serious and growing problem that puts the driver—and everyone else around them—at risk. According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 9 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured in accidents that involve a distracted driver every day in the United States.
The dangers of distracted driving are well-documented, but many drivers still acknowledge engaging in distracted behaviors behind the wheel. In a survey conducted by the National Safety Council, 53% of respondents admitted to using their cellphone while driving, and 47% said they had sent a text or email while driving.
Being mindful of your driving habits is the best way to avoid an accident and keep yourself and others safe. Here are some helpful tips and things to consider when it comes to distracted driving.
Types of distracted driving
Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver's attention away from driving. There are three main types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction is when a driver takes their eyes off the road, manual distraction is when a driver takes their hands off the wheel, and cognitive distraction is when a driver's mind is not focused on driving. Examples of distracted driving include using a cellphone, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio or GPS, and talking to passengers.
Preventing distracted driving
Preventing distracted driving is essential for the safety of everyone on the road. Here are a few tips to help keep your eyes on the road and avoiding conversations or activities that draw your attention away from driving:
- Texting or using your phone: Put your phone on silent or turn it off before driving. If you need to use your phone, pull over to a safe location before doing so.
- Navigation & GPS: Program your GPS before starting your journey.
- Eating & drinking: Finish eating or drinking before driving or stop at a safe location to do so.
Another new way to help prevent distracted driving to enable the “Do Not Disturb” tool on your phone. Most phones allow you to activate the “Do Not Disturb” function and to turn it on automatically whenever you start driving. This setting can send automated replies to anyone who is trying to contact you and silences notifications until you’re no longer driving to help keep your eyes and attention on the road.
Telematics can also play a role in preventing distracted driving while offering safe driving rewards and discounts. Within a telematics application on your phone, there are tools to help monitor common activities like device handling, calls and screen awakening.
Our partners at Travelers Insurance have even more to share when it comes to the dangers of distracted driving. Their “Unfinished Stories” series has several videos that recreate the lives in honor of those who were killed due to distracted driving accidents. One of our favorite stories is The Treehouse: Howard’s Unfinished Story which tells the tale of Howard, a carpenter and new grandfather who would have been able to build a treehouse with his granddaughter had he not been killed by a distracted driver.
For more resources, unfinished stories, and tools about the dangers of distracted driving, visit http://travelers.com/resources/auto/distracted-driving.
Distracted driving is a serious problem that can have severe consequences. We encourage all drivers to avoid distractions while driving. By doing so, you are not only keeping yourself safe, but you are also keeping others safe. Remember, it only takes a split second for an accident to happen!
Are you a safe driver? A First Tech Insurance Services agent can help review your existing policies and might be able to find additional safe driver discounts. Contact the First Tech Insurance Services agent in your area or call 855.855.8805 to get started.