Distracted… just a second, I need to check my phone… Driving
Driver distraction is one of the most alarming road safety issues today. Drivers not paying attention to the road, other drivers, pedestrians or anything else because they’re using a cell phone for calls and texts is on the rise. This is a huge concern to CAA and our Members.
Even a moment’s distraction can be dangerous for everyone on the road. Based on recent CAA research, replying to a text message takes an average of 33.6 seconds! That’s the time it takes a wind-up clock to chime 12 times at high noon! During this time, a driver on a residential road could pass 85 parked cars, 38 houses or five intersections. Or even worse, not pass them.
Distracted driving is one of the great unreported traffic safety problems in Canada today. Only a handful of studies have been conducted on the subject, so we can’t even fully measure the risks – or the consequences – of distracted driving. Earlier studies had suggested that driver distractions were estimated to cause between 20 and 40 per cent of all collisions, but more recent data indicates that eight out of every 10 collisions are caused by distracted drivers.
Distracted Driving in Atlantic Canada
All 10 Canadian provinces have distracted driving legislation in place. To learn more about distracted driving laws in Atlantic Canada, check out:
Reducing Driver Distractions
As a motorist, there are things you can control to minimize distractions while behind the wheel. Though some of these distractions may not seem threatening, remember that in just two seconds at 50 km/hr a car can travel 30m. A lot can happen in that distance.
Follow these tips to reduce preventable distractions.
- Eat and/or drink before you get in the car. At least have the footlong sub BEFORE you turn it on.
- Turn off your cell phone or put it out of sight. We know you get a lot of likes on Facebook.
- Pre-program radio stations, fill your CD deck, and/or choose your playlist before you start the car. No funny note here, this is an easy one.
- Prepare your children for the trip with toys or snacks for each leg of the trip. If young passengers begin to fight, cry or ask for something, pull over when there is a safe spot to do so and get everyone settled while you’re not also trying to drive. Also a good tip. Sure, it can cause a delay, but you’re dealing with precious cargo.
- Finish your personal grooming before you leave home. Hey, we understand being in a rush, so by all means, do it in your car. Just do it in your driveway or the parking lot. And by grooming, we only mean makeup, hair and fingernails. Anything else is not cool.
- Keep the conversation light and to a minimum. Ok, this isn’t likely, but it IS true. How about this, avoid deep conversations or making someone laugh until they cry. Never break up with someone while they are driving.
- Secure loose items on your dash, rear view mirror or vacant seats. Kleenex boxes, bobble head dogs, etc.
- Review maps and directions before leaving. You get both of those from us!
I know we made a few jokes in this list, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a serious issue. Truth is, we KNOW no one is going to follow all of these to the letter, but there are some compromises we could all make from this list and be better drivers instantly.