How to avoid distracted driving: Our top tips
Oct 7, 2021
If you ask around, you may find that most of us don't consider ourselves to be distracted drivers. We might think the odd text we need to read or the morning coffee we need in order to wake up don’t really count. But they sure do. In fact, distracted drivers doing things like dialling a phone number are twice as likely to be in a crash or near crash than attentive drivers.1 The distracted driving penalty for something like using a handheld device ranges from $234 in Nova Scotia to $5,000 in Nunavut.2
Here are the top distractions and how to prevent them.3
1. Texting in Traffic
That “innocent” text diverts your eyes from the road for about five seconds, which at 90 km/h is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.2 By simply turning off your mobile phone or placing it in the glove box, you could become a safer driver. You could even set an automated “Sorry, I’m driving” text reply before you leave home.
2. High-speed Snacking
If that steaming hot coffee and crumbly donut end up in your lap, you could end up in a ditch. It’s much safer to park and enjoy your treat or find a nice place to sit after using the drive-thru.
3. Get ready, get set…
Tie your tie, do your hair, put on your make-up before you leave your front door. Your rearview mirror is not a bathroom mirror. It’s much easier to take off that jacket or sweater outside of the car, not after you’ve put on your seatbelt.
4. Forget Fidgeting
Adjusting the mirrors, the seat, your playlist and the climate control should all be done before you even start your journey. Get comfortable, make the final tweaks, then put your vehicle in gear.
5. Don’t plan your route while en route
Program your GPS or check your directions before you start driving. Using the GPS voice guidance is far safer than watching the screen for your next turn-off.
6. If you drop something, let it go
Whatever has fallen or rolled under the seat can wait until you stop to retrieve it. The exception is if the object could interfere with your gas or brake pedals. In that case, pull over safely and then take care of it.
7. Eyes on the road
Our world is full of attention grabbers, from breath-taking scenery to roadside attractions to billboards with forty-foot-high cheeseburgers. You have to prioritize with your eyes and stay constantly alert to the actions of other vehicles around you.
8. Family first
If your children in the back seat require your attention, don’t turn around. Announce that you are planning to pull over and then do exactly that to address the situation. Similarly, don’t turn to look at other passengers when you talk to them as you drive.
9. Four-legged safety
For their own good, pets should never be allowed to roam free in your vehicle. The safest way to drive with a dog or cat is to keep them in their crates or secured in the backseat with a harness where they can’t interfere with your driving. You’ll also have to resist staring at their adorable little faces in the mirror.
10. Watch out for the other guy4
The statistics are dramatic. Distracted drivers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident. Despite this fact, 47% of Canadian drivers sometimes use their smartphones in traffic. Unfortunately, many consider their momentary distractions excusable. But tell that to someone who has been in an accident, since you are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision when you text while driving.5
How do cell phone tickets affect insurance rates?
Many factors unique to you, such as tickets for using a mobile phone, will determine your car insurance premium. But the driving habits of other motorists also have an impact. With so many accidents caused by inattentive driving, the cost gets passed on to all of us. What can you do?
Visit our car insurance page to learn about our conviction free discount and also be open to changing any distracted driving habits. If all of us make the effort to concentrate better on our driving, we will all see the benefits.
- 1- https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2014/02/distracted-driving-raises-crash-risk
- 2- IBC. http://www.ibc.ca/qc/auto/distracted-driving-likelife
- 3- https://www.carfax.ca/resource-centre/articles/top-10-ways-to-avoid-driver-distractions
- 4- https://reviewlution.ca/resources/texting-and-driving-statistics-canada/
- 5- Insurance Bureau of Canada http://www.ibc.ca/bc/auto/distracted-driving-likelife
Article courtesy of Johnson Inc. (“Johnson”). Johnson is an insurance intermediary specializing in home, auto and travel insurance, as well as group benefits. For more information about Johnson, go to www.johnson.ca (Quebec residents please visit: www.johnson.ca/quebec).
This article is provided for your general information only. Nothing in this article alters the terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Read your policy for a complete description of coverage and contact your insurance provider or intermediary for coverage and policy details.
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