Safety first: Avoiding distracted driving
What do you think is the leading cause of car crashes and fatalities? Speed? Alcohol? No, it’s actually distracted driving! Despite this reality, 75% of people admit to having been distracted while driving—even though it’s been estimated that there are at least 3,000 items to analyze when driving in traffic. By comparison, an airplane pilot has 10 times less things to consider. Remember those numbers the next time you think you can do two things at the same time!
Texting is by far the most worrying distraction while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds at
90 km/h is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed! Unsurprisingly, you are 23 times more likely to crash if you text while driving. But texting isn’t the only culprit; other dangerous distractions should be avoided as well. Choosing music, eating or drinking and applying makeup while driving are all too common causes of accidents. Remember that when you are driving, you are always driving, even when you are stopped at a red light or stuck in a traffic jam!
Tips for reducing distractions
We are becoming more and more addicted to our phones. In Quebec, we can see that tickets linked to cell phone usage have increased by 340% in 6 years! How can we fight the temptation to use them? Here are some tips to put into practice now to make our roads safer:
- First of all, use an app that blocks notifications and sends an automatic response to those who are trying to reach you. An iPhone with iOS 11 or a more recent update may block notifications while you are driving. When the “Do not disturb in car” feature is activated, your phone remains silent and its screen turns black. If someone sends you a message, they will receive an automatic reply indicating that you are driving, except in an emergency.
- You can also manually turn off notifications (vibrations, ringtones) before driving to help you ignore your phone. You can also put your phone on airplane mode to not receive any text messages while you are driving.
- Then, use a GPS that isn’t linked to your phone, so that you avoid seeing incoming notifications. You can also turn them off in your phone settings.
- Give your phone to your co-pilot and ask them to handle your calls and texts. They will be able to keep your phone away from you.
- And, what about the hands-free function? Although it is not illegal, it is not really recommended. As you know, talking on the phone or giving a voice command can also be distracting. If you still decide to use this feature, secure your phone properly to prevent it from causing injury. In addition, it should not cause you inconvenience or prevent equipment, such as airbags, from functioning properly.
At belairdirect, we reward drivers who prioritize safety by helping them save on their auto insurance. If you are using automerit®—a program that rewards good driving—not using your phone while driving will count towards your discount. No matter what tactic you choose, remember that eliminating distracted driving is paramount. By driving safely, you can literally save lives!