You’ve doubtless seen it on the road – A driver looking up just in time while texting, narrowly avoiding a collision (maybe you’ve been guilty of this yourself!). Whether it be from use of a cell phone, disruptive kids or pets in the car, eating or any other number of activities, distracted driving is one of the greatest threats to safety on the road. According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving causes 15 percent of injury crashes and nearly 400,000 people were injured in distracted driving incidents in 2015 alone.
As either a business owner insuring a fleet of vehicles and/or drivers or a private policyholder trying to keep costs down for you and your family, the fact is accidents due to distracted driving are raising everyone’s rates.
What are some ways you can minimize distracted driving for yourself, your employees or your family?
1. Avoid using your phone at all while driving — put it in your glove box, purse or back seat
2. Use radio presets to avoid fumbling with a dial or scanning for a station
3. Get yourself set for your trip before you go — Adjust the seat position and mirrors, set climate control and window positions before rolling out of your driveway (this is especially important for teen drivers to feel comfortable)
4. Get out anything you might need during your journey in advance — toll pass cards/fare for a tollbooth, set your destination and map into your GPS or phone prior to driving
5. If you must speak on your phone or answer a call, use a hands free feature with voice commands for dialing, answering and ending calls
6. Eating is for the kitchen table or a restaurant — Spilling crumbs down your lap or sauce plopping onto your blouse and looking down to try and wipe it up is a recipe for an accident
7. Let your passengers be your helpers — If you are driving your kids to school, have them control the radio; on a road trip and your phone rings? Let your passenger answer it and act as your assistant while you focus on driving
8. Keep all pets and children properly restrained while driving; all kids should be in car seats/in a booster or securely in a seatbelt and make sure fido or fluffy is either in a confined carrier or leashed to something to keep them from jumping into your lap.
The bottom line is distracted driving takes on many forms and with a little forethought and planning you can minimize the risk that you (or your employee or family member) will be responsible for a distracted driving accident, which helps keeps costs down for everyone!