April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, hosted by the National Safety Council, which gives us an opportunity to evaluate our current driving habits and make changes. The awareness campaign was created to educate the public on the most common distractions and the risk they involve. We’ve rounded up our best tips to avoid distracted driving and have the safest driving experience.
We all know phones are one of the largest distractions for drivers, but how big of a problem is it? While technology has provided us “hands-free” devices in cars, that doesn’t mean it’s your best option. In a recent AAA report, voice-activated devices still demand attention, therefore distracting the driver. As well, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that voice-to-text features on cell phones offer no safety advantages over manual texting. We often hear, “But it was just a quick text.” If you must take a call or text, your best option is to pull over and return safely to driving when completed.
Drowsy driving is never safe driving. In another study from AAA, drivers who missed more than one hour of sleep nearly doubled the risk for a vehicle crash. Furthermore, drivers who have slept less than five hours have a comparable crash risk to someone driving drunk. When driving long distances remember to travel during periods you are normally awake, schedule regular breaks or travel with a friend that you can take turns with.
Whether it’s phones, passengers, loose items, or the GPS, it’s easy to get distracted when driving. Make sure you prepare for your drive before starting the car. Make any adjustments to seats or mirrors, set GPS devices and climate controls, store all loose objects and make sure passengers are secured with seatbelts or appropriate car seats and restraints.
Take time to educate the younger drivers in your family. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report found that 20% of drivers between the age of 18-20 said texting doesn’t affect their driving abilities, but that same demographic also reported the highest level of phone-involved vehicle crashes. You can have a big impact on your teenagers driving experience. Household rules are often seen just as important as state laws.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident recently, call Morris, Haynes today for a free consultation.