Distracted Driving

Avoiding Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is more common than many think, and it isn’t always the other driver to blame. We may even be guilty of distracted driving ourselves at times. Accidents can happen quickly, and every second can make a difference, giving you the extra time you need to avoid a tragedy or costly collision.

Cell phones usually get the blame in our uber-connected model world. However, distractions can come from many sources, according to data from Transport Canada’s National Collision Database.

Types of Distracted Driving:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone or to passengers
  • Eating or drinking
  • Using the entertainment or navigation system

In a recent study, nearly 21% of fatalities result from distracted driving. About 16% of these accidents were due to distracted driving in 2016.

Any time we take our eyes off the road or our mind diverts from driving safely, we’re distracted. It could be something as simple as fiddling with the climate controls, or it could be other vehicle occupants. Eating your lunch on the go may even be putting you and others at risk.

Many areas of the US and Canada have banned texting while driving, which is a common cause of accidents, particularly for drivers under the age of 30. However, accidents tied to cell phone usage while driving affects every age group. If you need to message someone, consider parking someplace safe, even if you connect your smartphone through Bluetooth.

Tips to reduce distraction-related accidents

  • Get your ducks in a row before you go. Suppose you’ll be using GPS; set your route before you start driving. Also, locate your sunglasses or anything else you may need while driving.
  • Put your phone notifications on silent mode. Most of us reach for our phones out of habit when we hear a notification. That’s a distraction you don’t need. Social media, email, and text messages can wait until you stop driving.
  • Pullover if there is a distraction. Maybe it’s the kids in the back or an anxious pet jumping and pacing in the backseat, but for everyone’s safety, pull over and get everyone settled. Stopping the car is also a less stressful solution.
  • Ask your passengers for help. If you need to change radio stations or adjust the climate control, your passengers can handle these tasks safely while you concentrate on driving. If you’re driving by yourself, consider stopping the car before adjusting anything on the dash. It’s better to get wherever you’re going a few seconds later and arrive safely.

Of course, it’s always best to drive when well-rested as well. There’s a risk even on short trips. Well, you may not have as much risk of dozing off on a short trip; fatigue can affect reaction time. Combine a slowed reaction time with an all-too-common distraction, and the risk of an accident multiplies.

In Saskatchewan, SGI came up with the Cellphone legislation and the Driving without Due Care legislation to help deter people from using them while operating a vehicle. These legislations introduced heavy penalties for drivers caught using a cellphone or driving without due care. Not only may you face a ticket from the police, but SGI has also imposed demerit points to the individual Safe Driver Recognition program (SDR).

Want to learn more about demerit points or the SDR program? Contact one of our customer service representatives.

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