Do you Drive Under the Influence…of your Phone?
Distracted driving is the leading cause of auto accidents in the United States. Glancing at a phone or taking your eyes off the road for just three seconds puts you and others at risk of a serious accident. While many different organizations are working to limit this dangerous behavior, one of our insurance partners, Travelers, produced moving videos about real people and what could have been if not for distracted driving:
The Route: Phillip's Unfinished Story
The Stage: Shraya's Unfinished Story
The Treehouse: Howard's Unfinished Story
Over 58 Percent of Teen Crashes Are Caused by Driver Distraction
Knowing the statistics and facts about distracted driving can help families manage this dangerous crash risk. Driving while distracted can make it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for teen drivers. Peer passengers, talking or texting on a cell phone, changing the radio, eating, or applying makeup are all dangerous distractions. If the brain is thinking about anything other than driving, it can make it difficult to react during a potential crash, especially for inexperienced teen drivers.
Beyond sharing facts and statistics about distracted driving, parents need to model safe driving behaviors by not using a cell phone -- whether hands-free or hand-held -- while driving (including at stoplights) and not applying makeup, fiddling with the radio, or eating when behind the wheel.
Two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen behind the wheel.
Parents should limit peer passengers for their newly licensed teens, a major crash risk. The aim is engaged driving, where teen drivers are continuously attentive and focused.
It’s not just smartphones, GPS and our devices that can distract all of us. Dogs, kids, food, drinks, and daydreams can also keep drivers from focusing on the road. But there are a few easy ways to make sure your stay on course in the car:
- Use Airplane Mode. When you’re in your car, set your phone to airplane mode, as long as you don’t need to take hands-free calls while you’re on the road.
- Stow your phone. Use the center console, glove box, or anywhere else that is both out of reach and out of sight.
- Keep pets in the back seat. Better yet, use a seatbelt system or carrier to keep your pet contained.
- Give your phone to a passenger. If your friends or family are in the car, they can reply to text messages for you and let you know if something needs your attention.
- Don’t distract others. If you know a friend or family member is driving, don’t try to call or text them. It can wait.
- Don’t eat or drink and drive. Food and coffee (or even bottles of water) can be a huge driving distraction. Wait until you reach your destination to enjoy those fries.
- Get directions before you leave. Don’t try to use your car’s navigation system while you’re driving.
- Avoiding reaching. Resist the urge to reach for items if they fall while driving.
- Use steering wheel controls. If your car has volume and entertainment system controls built into the steering wheel, use them. They can help you keep your attention forward and your eyes on the road.
- Set a good example. Parents can model good behavior for their children by demonstrating attentive driving. Avoid texting, eating, grooming or calling someone while behind the wheel.
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