April is Distracted Driving month, an annual event that raises awareness of the dangers of driving while distracted. Texting, eating, or talking on the phone are examples of activities that can divert your attention away from driving. It is a significant issue on our roads, causing thousands of accidents, injuries, and fatalities each year.
As per the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), 31,785 crash-related fatalities were recorded during just the first nine months of 2022. This statistic emphasizes the significance of avoiding distracted driving and implementing safe driving practices.
Unsurprisingly, there are numerous risks associated with distracted driving. When you are not fully focused while driving, you may fail to notice other vehicles, pedestrians, or any obstacles in the way. Your reaction times are also likely to be slower, increasing the chances of accidents. Distracted driving can also result in serious legal consequences, such as fines and license suspension.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to become a more mindful driver – such as:
1. Putting Your Phone Away
Using a cell phone behind the wheel is a major reason for driver inattentiveness. It is among the main causes of accidents and crashes, and is, thus, banned in many states.
If you need to make a phone call or send a text message, you should pull over to a safe area first. Alternately, you can utilize hands-free technology for calling and texting while driving without diverting your attention from the road.
2. Limiting Passenger Distractions
Having passengers in your vehicle can be distracting, particularly if they are noisy or engaged in activities that divert your focus from the road.
To reduce these distractions, request that your passengers keep the noise level low and avoid engaging in activities that may impair your focus. If you have young children, secure them correctly in car seats or seat belts to reduce distractions created by their movement.
3. Avoiding Multitasking
Multitasking is yet another common cause behind distracted driving. The temptation to save time often entices drivers into eating, drinking, or even applying makeup while behind the wheel. However, plenty of studies show that multitasking does not work, and can actually cost you more time than it saves.
Thus, it is important to stay attentive while driving and refrain from any activities that could hamper your focus.
4. Taking Regular Breaks
Driving is a taxing job, and long drives can be particularly exhausting. Fatigue, naturally, is a major driving distraction, leading to clumsiness and poor decision-making.
Take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and clear your mind to avoid becoming fatigued behind the wheel. Pull over to a safe location and go for a short walk or do some light exercise.
5. Understanding the Impact on Your Auto Insurance Rates
Finally, it is vital to understand how distracted driving can affect your auto insurance coverage rates. Your insurance premiums will likely increase if you are involved in an accident caused by distracted driving.
Since insurers view distracted driving as a risky habit, they are likely to charge a higher premium to such drivers. In addition, a distracted driving ticket may result in a fine that could further raise your insurance premiums.
By adhering to these tips and practicing safe driving, you can reduce the likelihood of accidents and ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. Remember that distracted driving is a serious problem that requires our immediate attention and action.
This Distracted Driving month, let us all pledge to do our part in making our roads safer for everyone. If we can help you learn more about safe driving tips or insurance coverage for your autos, give us a call today.