Whether you have a long commute on the busy freeways each morning or have a quick and easy drive to work, I’m sure you regularly come across a car that all of a sudden jerks across the road or weaves back and forth across the lines. You can pretty much guess that it is a distracted driver. If everyone could stop and think of some ways to reduce the distractions in the car, maybe our car insurance rates wouldn’t have to keep going up so much! When the phrase, “distracted driving” comes up, many instantly think of the cell phone as the culprit. It isn’t just that, but the National Safety Council estimates that 25% of all vehicle crashes involve cell phone usage. They say that even listening to a phone decreases your brain’s capability to process moving images by 33%. Basically even if you think you are good at multitasking and can do it safely, in the vehicle is not the time to risk it! I am constantly multi-tasking while at work and home so I have to make a conscious choice to just focus on driving when I’m in the car. Let’s think about ways you can reduce distracted driving.
There are several types of distracted driving to think about. There is manual – where you actually remove your hands from the wheel to do something else, visual – where you take your eyes off the road, and cognitive – where your focus is not on driving. Cell phones can contribute to all of these types of distractions but so can eating, smoking, dealing with children/passengers, putting on makeup, and any number of other ways we lose focus on the primary function of driving.
It is very easy to say, “oh I don’t do that” or “I’m a good driver so I can…” or “I don’t text and drive” but we want to encourage you to just stop and think about your driving habits. How can you eliminate some of those distractions? Can you silence your phone so you don’t hear those pings letting you know you have a text (that can wait)? Could you wake up a few minutes earlier so you can apply your makeup and eat breakfast before leaving the house? I know I can’t eliminate one distraction: driving with kids in the car but I am constantly trying to teach my young ones that the behavior in the car is super important for safety. One of the insurance companies we represent has partnered with a national non-profit organization with this goal in mind. Teaching our children early and instilling safe driving habits long before they get behind the wheel is so important. Read the online storybook with your kids today! “Everything Can Wait!”
Will you make an effort to stop driving distracted? Click here: I Pledge to Be an Attentive Driver