Making the most of our drive time, killing two birds with one stone, being efficient. However, you want to label it, most of us want to think we excel in the area of multi-tasking while driving. We may answer a quick text, have a sandwich to-go, or allow our favorite furry pet to “safely” sit on our laps. Despite the confidence in our driving skills, it’s these types of distracted driving tactics that lead to about half a million driving accidents per year — and ultimately higher auto insurance rates.
Driving While Distracted, or “DWD,” is anything that keeps you from having both hands on the wheel, obstructs your eyesight, or diverts your attention from the task at hand — driving. As our lives get busier and technology gets more complicated, it is easy to fall into the trap of practicing bad DWD habits. However, there are some simple ways to help you avoid these habits and keep your driving clear of distractions:
TURN OFF THE PHONE. (To avoid distracted driving)
Don’t just silence it. Don’t just set it on the passenger’s seat. Regardless if you are holding a phone or using a hands-free model, the simple act of talking on the phone can delay your reaction time. In addition, most of us are guilty of texting and driving, which according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, is even more dangerous. In the 4.6 seconds it takes us to send that text message, our vehicle has traveled the length of a football field. That’s a lot of players, coaches, cheerleaders, and fans that could potentially get in the way. Your incoming messages can wait. Like John Travolta says in “Be Cool”… when you’re important – people will wait. Your life is important!
PUT DOWN THE BIG MAC.
At one point in our driving tenure, most of us have used our steering wheels and laps as tray tables, while simultaneously trying to balance our Super Sized beverage cups in the center consoles. Add to that the art of eating a burrito while not staining your dress pants, and you have a disturbingly vivid example of Driving While Distracted. Save the fast food for your dining room table, and save us all from a mistake behind the wheel.
PUT THE CAR IN PARK.
With in-vehicle GPS systems and the iPhone map features, there rarely comes a time anymore when we need to pull out an old school paper map roadmap. However, if the destination has changed or you took a wrong turn, there might be the need to recalculate. If this happens to you, find the nearest exit, pull into a parking lot, and readjust your GPS as needed. Staring at the screen while driving will do no good if you never make it your destination.
KEEP FIDO IN HIS CAGE.
You wouldn’t keep your baby on your lap while driving, so why would you allow your furry friend to do so? Aside from the obvious potential danger that you are putting your pet in, the movement of your four-legged passenger (even in the backseat) is highly likely to be a distraction. Secure your pet and you will secure your driving.
Insurance Town & Country is here to help. Talk with one of our insurance professionals and learn how a clean driving record could help lower your auto insurance rates. We have offices in Denver (303–388-7216) and Castle Rock (303–688-1251). Call us today to schedule your consultation, and… you to stay safe on the road!