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.

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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:

Nova Scotia Cell Phone Ban

Prince Edward Island Highway Safety

Newfoundland & Labrador Road Guide

New Brunswick Public Safety Policy

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.


Featured CAA Member Story

Worth Every Penny

Along the way in the past 10 years my wife and I realized we used CAA quite often. So we upgraded to the Premier plan. Then on renewal last spring, we signed up for the RV coverage too. In July we were travelling on the 104 in 34 degrees humidex towing the 5th wheel, when a rear tire blew damaging some of the wheel well covering. Called CAA. Within 30 minutes the service truck came and changed the tire and got us on our way. Total time on the side of the road for all that? 60 minutes. The peace of mind in these emergencies that keep popping up is worth every cent of what I am paying. Thank you CAA.

Thanks from Santa

My wife and I are Mr. & Mrs. Santa Clause in the Christmas season.But on December 17, 2011 we had just finished a daycare Christmas party and when we came back to our van our keys were locked inside. We had another party in about 1/2 an hour so we called CAA. The lady put it out on the air that Santa needed help so he could get to a children's Christmas party on time. One serviceman came really fast to our aid and could not let the kids down to have Mr. & Mrs. Claus at their Christmas party. My hat goes off to our CAA Service people everywhere.

Out in the Cold

My daughter and I were on a day trip on we stopped for gas and, oh yes, locked ourselves out of the vehicle. Luckily I had my purse with me and my CAA card. The agent said we would have help within one hour. And in almost exactly one hour a very nice and polite young man arrived. I have been a CAA card holder for about 15-20 years, but this is the first time I have used the card for emergency. On a cold day, we were able to leave and get warmed up in no time. Thank you CAA.

My Story

Recently I had an incident at the New Hampshire Maine Border. I was changing a flat tire, couldn't get the tire off, called CAA and the closest reference I could give them in regards to location was that we were almost under an overpass. Well within 12 minutes a CAA vehicle pulled up an changed the tire within 5 minutes. I would estimate that I lost no more than 30 minutes of road time due to the quick response of CAA. I used the Travel Service about two years ago, and the service and my trip was second to none. A member for life. Thank you to a responsive and continually rewarding organization.