Welcome to April. It’s Distracted Driver Awareness Month. And considering how distracted American drivers are, it’s likely to be a very busy month. National Safety Council President Deborah Hersman said her organization has been doing an in depth look at distraction. It found some very interesting facts.
First and foremost it’s family doing the distracting more than business, co-workers and bosses and friends. “It is a sad irony that the people we love are actually jeopardizing our safety. If you really care, don’t call to say, ‘I love you.’ Instead encourage your family to set everything else aside, disconnect and focus only on the road,” she said.
In its survey the council found:
• 82% of us feel pressured to deal with phone calls and texts while behind the wheel.
• For work-related intrusions it’s 54%.
• Friends distract 50% of the time.
• Only for teenagers are friends more distracting than family.
A lot of driving organizations encourage controlling distracted driving. Among them is the Governors Highway Safety Organization. Last year it offered several important tips:
• Turn your phone off or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. Then stow it away so that it’s out of reach.
• Record a message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road, or sign up for a service that offers this feature.
• If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
• Ask a passenger to make the call or respond to a text for you.
• Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It’s dangerous and against the law in most state. Even voice-to-text isn’t risk-free.3
• Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. Some states and localities prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones in addition to texting.
• If using a GPS device, enter your destination before you start to drive. If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance. If you need help while driving, ask a passenger to assist you or pull over to a safe location to change your GPS or review your map/directions.
• Secure your pets. Unsecured pets can be a big distraction in the car.
• Mind the kids. Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children in the car.
• Focus on driving. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous.4 Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.
Source links: PropertyCasualty360.com, Governors Highway Safety Organization