As advancements in technology continue to flourish, it is becoming easier than ever to have everything you could ever need right at the touch of a button. This is amazing when communicating with friends, shopping online or catching up on the latest news. However, when it comes to distracted driving, mobile devices and in-car technologies have increasingly contributed to the number of car accidents in recent years.
A 2022 CAA poll tells us that 79% of Canadian drivers admit to being distracted while behind the wheel. What’s more, according to Transport Canada, 21% of all fatal car accidents are caused by distracted driving. In fact, distracted driving has surpassed impaired driving as the number one cause of collisions in Canada.
Below are some tips to reduce the risk of having a distracted driving-related incident.
New in-car technologies can make a ride more convenient, and even safer, but the combination of all that tech can lead to being distracted. CAA’s recent #BeforeYouDrive campaign urges drivers to do as much as they can to reduce distractions before driving.
If you feel tempted to check or respond to a text message while driving, there are settings on most smartphones that allow for automatic responses while driving. This way, the person attempting to get in touch with you knows that you’ll respond upon reaching your destination.
Other tips to avoid distracted driving include, pre-setting your music playlist or podcast, programming your GPS and reviewing the directions before putting your car into drive, stowing away loose objects and eating before you go.
Most people have experienced being a passenger when the driver is actively participating in distracted driving, whether it’s sending a text message, adjusting the music or checking the navigation system —all of these put everyone in the vehicle, as well as other road users at risk. A passenger is completely within their right to ask the driver to focus on the road and continue driving with their full attention.
A University Utah study also showed that passengers can be a real asset in the car by helping the driver avoid potential distractions. For example, you could read the GPS directions or answer important calls or texts on the driver’s behalf. You could also be in charge of changing the music when the playlist gets stale or adjusting the A/C. If there are children in the car, you can see also to their needs, so the driver isn’t distracted.
The education parents provide to their children around safe driving practices can dramatically change a child’s attitude towards driving, as well as the likelihood that they will exercise safe practices when the time comes for them to begin driving. This is critical as research shows that distracted driving is extremely prevalent among younger drivers. In fact, 16 to 24-year-olds are the most likely of any age group to use an electronic device while driving.
Distracted driving is something most of us will encounter at one point in our lives. The important thing is to know is how to approach and prevent these situations before or when they occur. To learn more about what you can do to avoid distractions behind the wheel, visit caaniagara.ca/distracteddriving.
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