It seems like every day we are hearing of a new accident caused by distracted driving. Whether it was caused by someone texting, scrolling on their phone, or just not paying attention to the road, distracted driving accidents are all too frequent and often fatal.
In fact, according to NHTSA, distracted driving killed 3,142 people in 2019. That was a 10% increase from 2018. At what percentage are we as drivers going to start paying attention? Even more alarming is that drivers ages 16 to 24 seem to be the most distracted, as they tend to constantly use their cell phones will operating their vehicles.
With April being distracted driving awareness month, here are some safety tips that will help prevent distracted driving:
If you have a passenger with you, have them answer your calls and/or texts. If you trust them to be in your front seat, you should trust them to read your texts.
Stay off your phone – regardless of how long your drive may be, you can wait to scroll through Instagram or Twitter. The photos and tweets will be there when your vehicle comes to a stop.
Pull over to text – if you are alone and need to send a text, pull over and park before hitting send. Just a split second taking your eyes off the road can be fatal.
Another great tool to help drivers become more aware, teen and young adult drivers more specifically, is teenSMART. teenSMART is downloadable software you can purchase and install on your own computer. The software includes driving simulations, videos, exercises, and activities teens and parents can do together to complete the course. Once completed, studies show that teenSMART reduces the chances of being in a crash by up to 30%. Another upside? Most insurance companies will offer a discount on your policy once this program is completed that is typically left on the policy for the first few years of driving.
Being the parent of 3 young drivers, distracted driving is something we talk about around the dinner table from time to time. Maybe you can too.