Put the Phone Down! How to Avoid Distracted Driving
Keeping your eyes on the road is more important than ever before! Reports this month from the Ontario Provincial Police confirm that distracted driving is on the rise and is currently outpacing the number of deaths linked to speed, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. On March break alone, officers laid more than 2,400 distraction-related charges. Distracted driving includes any type of multitasking while driving including eating, talking on the phone, texting and looking at the GPS. Distracted driving is more common among new drivers as they are still learning to get a better grip on the vehicle. However, this does not mean more experienced riders are off the hook!
Distracted driving not only increases your chances of getting in an accident and injuring yourself or someone else, it can also increase your insurance premium. If you are caught distracted driving, even if there is no accident you can face a fine of up to $1,000 and you'll gain 3 demerit points. Novice drivers face even stricter penalties including a 30 day licence suspension. These penalties will show up in your driving record and come renewal you may face increased premiums.
Distractions can come in many forms. It is important to learn to deal with them effectively to ensure a safe driving experience for yourself and for everyone else on the road. When you drive distracted you can go from a safe trip to a fender bender in a matter of seconds. Lucky for drivers there are a number of simple strategies to help you keep your eyes on the road.
Install Safe Driving Apps to Block Calls and Texts
If the temptation to check your phone while on the road is too much, consider installing apps that block calls and texts. An app like Life Saver can lock your phone, preventing calls and texts from distracted driving. Additionally, these apps can help you track all aspects of your driving including speed, miles driven and drive times, there are even parental controls for parents of your drivers.
Mount Your Phone on the Dash
If you need to use your phone for navigation use a dash board mount so that you don't have to pick up your phone , or look down to see where your next turn is. You should also turn on the audio commands so that you don't need to look at the screen at all.
Put your Phone Away
That phone call is not more important that your life or the life of others. Let it go to voicemail! If you don't need your phone for navigation and the temptation is too much, turn your phone off or put it away in a bag or even in the back seat.
Bluetooth To The Rescue
Connecting your phone to a Bluetooth device can help you keep your eyes on the road, allowing you to answer your phone, voice to text and talk all hands free. It is important to remember that even hands free calling is equally distracting. It takes your mind away from the road as you are concentrating on listening or responding to the caller. However it is legal to do.
Get to Know Your Steering Wheel Controls
Know your steering wheel controls really well. Ideally, you should be able to manoeuvre the controls without looking at all! Most newer cars have a number of controls available on the steering wheel that allow you to change the radio station, skip to the next song on your playlist and adjust the volume, all without taking your hands or eyes off the road.
Have a Passenger Text or Call for You
The idea of a designated driver has caught on when it comes to drinking and driving, but the same principle can be applied to texting and driving. If you are driving with a friend ask them to hold onto your phone and answer texts and calls while you focus on the road. As a passenger you can help prevent distracted driving by refusing to tolerate distracted driving while you are in the car. Ask your friends and family not to drive distracted while you are in the car.
Distracted driving is a serious offence with real consequences. By putting your phone down and focusing on the road you can help keep roads safer. When the roads are safer you are less likely to have an accident, and you can help keep your premiums low.
Safe driving is every driver's responsibility. Respecting other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists is essential to make roads safe for everyone.