Distracted Driving Is The Number One Cause Of Traffic Fatalities
Sadly, statistics show that distracted driving has surpassed impaired driving and is now the number one cause of traffic fatalities, with no sign of things getting any better soon.
As a safety issue which affects everyone, awareness and education are two of the more important aspects of resolving the ever increasing tendency to allow personal devices and other such activity to interfere with the safe operation of a vehicle.
Directing the shift in attitude and reversing the trend might well begin with understanding why people allow themselves to be distracted while driving.
Top 4 reasons for distracted driving *
- Family matters that require constant attention (31%)
- Don’t want to miss out on something important (27%)
- Always want to be available for work (14%)
- Say it makes the drive go by faster (14%)
Interestingly, most people do not feel that their own distracted driving issues are the same as those around them. This perception may contribute to the problem getting worse, as many drivers consider the distractions and subsequent dangers to be caused by “the other guy” on the road!
69% of drivers believe that other drivers are distracted by using devices but only 24% consider their own distraction is caused by the use of a device.
There’s an obvious disconnect between awareness versus action, and “self versus others”.
On that same note, Travelers Institute also found that 42% of people surveyed have asked another person to stop using a mobile device while they were operating a vehicle yet 33% admitted to texting or calling a person they knew was driving.
As well, the survey noted that despite a 90% rate of familiarity with Canadian laws on distracted driving, 37% of respondents admitted to answering or making communications while behind the wheel of an automobile!
Even more alarming is the fact that 10% of these drivers also admitted to having been pulled over or fined for distracted driving and 5% were also guilty of causing an accident while being distracted!!
*1000 people surveyed in Travelers Canada public policy group, Travelers Institute recent study on Canadian drivers and distracted driving.
Develop Your Own Policies and Protocols To Prevent Being A Distracted Driver, As Well As Avoiding Accidents That May Be Caused By Other Drivers Who May Be Distracted
10 tips to help drivers avoid being distracted
- Ensure your windows are clear of frost, snow, fog or grime before getting in your vehicle.
- Ensure your gear and other possessions are stored and secured properly and won’t roll or move around.
- Set your mirrors, seat position and cabin comforts prior to driving away and ensure passengers are seated and secure, especially children.
- Be familiar with the dials and instrument controls in your vehicle, including radio presets and other entertainment media.
- Know your route and determine traffic conditions prior to departure.
- Use your phone for emergencies only.
- Avoid multi-tasking of any kind and pull over if you must deal with other matters, including phone calls or other communications.
- Pull over and rest if you are tired or drowsy.
- Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle and keep activity low, particularly with children.
- Avoid eating while driving.
Aside from the measures you take to keep you from being distracted, much of avoiding accidents comes back to a frequent topic discussed in many of our other posts, those related to being a “defensive driver”.
- Assume you are invisible, just like we do when riding our motorcycles. You cannot assume everyone else on the road is paying attention, is following traffic laws, and can see you clearly.
- Don’t be an aggressive driver and try to go with the flow of surrounding traffic. You are part of a collective group and everyone wants to arrive at their destination safely.
- Keep calm and control your emotions. Getting upset and impatient only exacerbates a bad situation, so set a good example and avoid instigating bad behaviour in other drivers.
- Take a proactive approach to avoiding incidents and accidents.
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