Published on August 7th, 2012 | by Jordan

Stay Focused, Stay Safe

Distracted driving is a major contributor to the amount of collisions – and fatalities – that occur on North American roads. Simply put, a distraction can be any act that pulls your primary focus away from the road; whether you’re eating, grooming or just switching radio stations, you’re putting yourself and others at serious risk. This article will take you through some common distractions, thought-provoking statistics, and helpful driving tips in order to better educate drivers on both the very real dangers of distracted driving, and the very easy ways to avoid them.

Among in-vehicle distractions identified by CAA, using personal communication devices and reaching for fallen objects ranked the two most common. Drivers engaged in text messaging were deemed 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash event compared with non-distracted drivers; is answering any text really worth the potential for disaster? Caller ID and voicemail make it easy to return calls missed while on the road, but it’s advised that drivers wait until they reach their destination before doing so. If you absolutely need to communicate while driving, make sure it’s with the use of a hands free or wireless device. Though they’re the only legal way to receive phone calls on the road, these devices still have the potential to distract you and should be used only when absolutely necessary.

Reaching for a moving object has been found to increase the likelihood of crashes and near-crash events by 9 times. This deadly combination of ‘eyes off the road’ and ‘hands off the wheel’ is one of, if not the easiest distraction to avoid. Try to remember that your car interior is completely sealed off from the road, and whatever you’ve lost will still be there when you reach your destination. Though for most, it’s just instinct; dropping or losing sight of your sunglasses or cell phone can be a panic-inducing event for a lot of folks. But given the likelihood of a collision in this situation, what would you rather not see: your wallet, or an oncoming vehicle? Try not to place anything on your sloped, insecure dashboard; instead, utilize your side-storage compartment to keep your cellphone and wallet safe, secure and most importantly, out of sight.

It only takes one second to change the rest of your life. And that’s why CAA is committed to educating drivers about the risks and dangers associated with distracted driving. With your help, we can make our roads a safer place to travel.

For even more tips on how to become a safer driver, check out CAA’s Distracted Driving page.

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