Tips to Reduce Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which sheds light on dangerous habits behind the wheel. Although texting or talking on the phone and eating while driving occur year round, this month specifically focuses on educating drivers to make our roadways safer.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019, a 10 percent increase from 2018. Individuals between 16 and 24 years old have a higher likelihood of using a handheld device behind the wheel.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Any activity that takes your focus off the road can be considered a distraction. Failing to devote your full attention to driving increases your risk of getting into an accident.

Common distracted driving behaviors include:

  • Talking or texting on a handheld device
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Talking to passengers in your vehicle
  • Adjusting the radio or navigation
  • Putting on makeup or grooming

Even seemingly “quick” actions can have significant consequences. On average, it takes about five seconds to send or read a text message. While this may seem like no time, when driving on a highway at 55 to 60 MPH, you’ll travel the distance of a football field without looking at the road. If a car in front of you stops suddenly or a pedestrian enters the road, you may not have enough time to react.

How to Prevent Distracted Driving

To reduce your risk of getting into an accident and help improve safety for yourself and others on the road, distracted driving can be prevented through the following practices:

  • If you need to send a text, pull over to a safe location to do so.
  • Have a passenger answer a call or text if you’re waiting for a message.
  • Avoid using a handheld device to text, making calls or scrolling social media.
  • Make sure kids are secured in their seats and pets aren’t moving around the vehicle.
  • Keep your phone hidden in a bag or the glove compartment to avoid the temptation.
  • Avoid multitasking while driving. If you need to change the address of your destination, have a passenger help you or pull over to a safe location.
  • Prepare before you hit the road. Instead of adjusting seats, mirrors and the GPS as you drive, prepare your vehicle before you leave.
  • Be sure to eat, put on makeup and do your hair at home.
  • If you know someone will be driving, avoid calling or texting during their journey.
  • Remind yourself to drive actively. Even without phones, many of us drive passively on familiar roads. Active driving involves regularly scanning the road, using your mirrors and paying attention to other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Parents should set a good example for their teens. Make sure to follow your own rules, so the kids will take them more seriously.
  • In the workplace, adopt a policy against phone use while driving. If your workforce is regularly on the road, establish rules concerning when and how to respond to messages while away from the office.

After an accident, Ion Insurance is here to answer all of your questions concerning car insurance. To discuss your coverage or file a claim, contact us today.