Actions to Prevent Distracted Driving and Reduce Accidents
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to spend more time in their vehicles. However, with our busy schedules, the temptation to multitask while driving and disregard basic safety measures can significantly increase the risk of accidents. In June 2019, more than 900 people were caught driving distracted and 87% of the offences involved cell phone use. Whether you’re embarking on a summer road trip or commuting during the winter, it’s crucial to be aware of the actions you can take to avoid accidents on the road.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving: Preventive Tips
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents on the road. Despite the advanced safety features in modern vehicles, drivers are ultimately responsible for operating their vehicles without distractions. While cruise control, lane assist, and automatic emergency braking can enhance safety, they can also create a false sense of security. Remembering to be attentive and vigilant while driving is essential, as road conditions can change rapidly. Some everyday activities that contribute to distracted driving include:
Visual distractions occur when a driver takes their eyes off the road. This can include looking at a mobile phone, reading a map, or even admiring the scenery. Even a momentary lapse in attention can have dire consequences, as accidents can occur in a split second.
Manual distractions involve taking your hands off the steering wheel. This can include activities such as eating, drinking, grooming, or reaching for objects within the vehicle. When your hands are not on the wheel, your ability to react quickly to potential hazards is compromised.
Cognitive distractions occur when a driver’s mind is not fully focused on the task of driving. This can happen when the driver daydreams, is preoccupied with personal issues or engages in deep conversation. The driver’s reaction time and decision-making abilities are diminished in these instances.
Technological distractions have become increasingly prevalent with the rise of smartphones and other electronic devices. Texting, talking on the phone, or using navigation systems while driving can be extremely dangerous. These distractions combine visual, manual, and cognitive elements, making them particularly hazardous.
The Alarming Reality of Distracted Driving
In Saskatchewan, distracted driving stands as the foremost cause of collisions. Over a span of five years, from 2013 to 2017, an average of 6,012 collisions resulting from distracted driving occurred annually in the province. Furthermore, it remains a significant factor in accidents leading to injuries or fatalities. In those same five years, an average of 33 lives were lost, and 1,137 people sustained injuries each year due to distracted driving incidents in Saskatchewan. These statistics highlight the pressing need for increased awareness and prevention efforts surrounding this dangerous behaviour on the roads.
The proliferation of technology has undoubtedly contributed to the rise of distracted driving. With the increasing use of smartphones and in-car infotainment systems, drivers are more tempted than ever to engage in activities that divert their attention from the road. It is crucial for drivers to recognize the dangers of these technological distractions and take steps to mitigate them.
Consequences of Distracted Driving
In Saskatchewan, distracted driving is regulated by two laws: one pertaining to cellphone usage and another addressing driving without due care. Cellphones pose a significant distraction for drivers, making it unlawful to use, hold, view or manipulate a hand-held cell phone while operating a vehicle. In addition to this legislation regarding cell phones, other distractions such as eating, using GPS devices, reading materials or engaging in personal grooming are covered under the broader umbrella of driving without due care and attention.
To see more information on the penalties for such offences, visit SGI’s website.
Distracted driving can also have significant implications for your insurance coverage. For example, the Safe Driver Recognition (SDR) program used in Saskatchewan to either apply financial discounts or issue financial penalties is affected by your driving record. If you have an auto insurance policy or Auto Pak and are involved in an accident while engaging in distracted driving behaviours, your insurance company may view you as a higher-risk driver. This could result in increased premiums or even denial of coverage. Maintaining a clean driving record and practicing safe driving habits is essential to protect your insurance rates. To learn more about the penalties issued by the SDR program, please view SGI’s website.
The Importance of Education and Awareness
Distracted driving is a significant threat to road safety, but it is a behaviour that can be mitigated through awareness, education, and responsible action. By understanding the dangers of distractions behind the wheel and implementing strategies to avoid them, we can all contribute to creating a safer driving environment.
In the unfortunate event of an accident, insurance coverage can help safeguard you against financial burdens. Auto insurance policies can provide higher liability coverage, which protects you in case you are legally responsible for injuries or damages caused to others. However, it is essential to review your policy to ensure that you have adequate coverage in all circumstances. Liability coverage may not protect against all potential liabilities, especially in cases involving severe injuries or criminal acts. It is advisable to consult with an insurance advisor to assess your coverage needs and explore additional coverage options and coverage exclusions to protect yourself fully.
Let us take responsibility for our actions and promote a safe driving culture, ensuring the well-being of ourselves, our loved ones, and the wider community. Together, we can make a difference and reduce the likelihood of accidents caused by distracted driving. Stay focused, and stay safe!