Is distracted driving really that big of a deal? As new drivers, we’ve all been told not to check our phones while driving. We probably feel like it won’t hurt to take a quick look at a Snapchat while waiting for the lights to turn green. But statistics tell a different story.
Let’s put it this way: if you’ve checked a text for 5 seconds while driving 90 km/hr, you’ve essentially travelled an entire football field blindfolded. :O
Plus, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says that you’re 23x more likely to be in a crash if you text while driving and 4x if you talk on your cell phone.
Let’s take a look at how driving distracted affects your brain, the costs that come with it, and some effective ways to hold off on posting that Instagram photo and focus on the road.
How Distracted Driving Affects Your Brain
The grey matter between your ears can be seriously compromised if you pull up your Facebook newsfeed or Messaging app on your phone while driving. The Washington Post shows us how cell phones can distract the brain from driving.
Here is a video that shows how the brain must try to multi-task to talk on the phone or do anything else that’s distracting, all while driving:
Drivers who look at a cell phone while driving are 8x more likely to be in a crash (CAA, 2017).
The Costs of Distracted Driving
Nearly 3 of every 4 Canadians admit to distracted driving, which is why there are accidents that happen every day of every year.
- Every year, Over $10 billion of Canadian dollars are spent on distracted-related driving crashes
- It’s a $287 fine and three demerit points for using a cell phone or electronic devices like cameras while driving in Alberta
- In North America, 15 people die every day because drivers are on their phones or distracted driving their cars
- 60 percent of teen car accidents happen from distracted driving
- According to the Alberta Office of Traffic Safety, in Alberta, one in five new drivers is involved in a collision during their first two years of driving.
What Qualifies as Distracted Driving?
Here are some of the things that distract Canadian drivers:
- 85.7% read road signs;
- 67% talk or interact with passengers;
- 54.8% think about something else;
- 45.8% change the radio station or CD;
- 40.9% read billboards; • 32% eat or drink;
- 19.9% talk on a hands-free phone;
- 17.4% use a GPS;
- 8% talk on a hand-held phone;
- 5.2% text message, and;
- 3% read a paper, put on makeup, or shave (TIRF 2010)
If you’re wondering what qualifies for distracted driving in Alberta, you can find out here.
Tips to Curb the Urge
Often, a call, text or email can be the cause of a serious accident; these risk your life and the lives of your friends in the car. Here are some useful tips for your phone that will stop distracted driving in its tracks.
- No matter how tempting it may be to pick up, let calls go to voicemail or put your phone on silent before leaving for your destination. If it’s urgent, pull over somewhere safe or at your next pit stop to return the call.
- Turn it off, turn airplane mode on, or place your phone out of sight (out of mind)
- If you don’t have a personal text from a crush, ask a friend to be a designated texter and to pick up calls for you.
- If it’s a road trip or long enough drive, we suggest looking for highway rest areas or you can get some free Wifi at the next Tim’s - cause we all know how expensive data can be!
- You can also use your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” option on iOS or “In-Traffic Reply” option on Samsung phones.
- Using a cell phone at a red light is a no-no for distracted driving laws in Alberta
- “Look Ma! No hands!”: use “hands-free” devices like Bluetooth tech in your car, earphones, or voice command.
- If you’ve got a Learner's licence, the law says you’re not allowed to even have a hands-free device on.
- Understand the Distracted Driving Legislation more here
Leave The Phone Alone
Make the streets and your community safer by telling your friends to leave the phone alone. The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators has set up a pledge to Leave the Phone Alone and will send a pledge sticker for your car. You can even send a bulk order for stickers to hand out in your community!
Leaving the phone alone can be make the ‘struggle real’, but choosing to drive distraction-free can save your life and those around you.
What’s more: if you want to get a good driving Scorecard and get some cash using Carrot, deciding to drive without distraction is the route to take.
HOW DO I GET CARROT?
Carrot is as easy to use as ABC:
- Enroll with InsureMy (plus get a 10% discount)
- Connect your vehicle to the Drive With Carrot App
- (Download it on iTunes or Google)
- Buckle up and start getting cash rewards for driving smart!
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