Put Down Those Phones: Dangerous Driving Months Ahead

While many people assume winter is the most dangerous time of the year for driving, data from Canada's National Collision Database shows otherwise. Year after year, summer proves to be the deadliest season. July and August often swap spots as not only the months with the most collisions, but the most fatalities too.

Add the Friday of a long weekend into the mix, and it's a dangerous road ahead for drivers. One Canadian study found 40 per cent of long weekend fatalities caused by car crashes occur on Fridays. The same study found that 25 per cent of these fatalities are the result of distracted driving.

So it goes without saying, but we're saying it anyway, that drivers need to be vigilant and attentive. These accidents really can happen to anyone. If you're not convinced, this heartbreaking video from AT&T might change your mind.

We know, We Know, But Hear Us Out

You're probably sick and tired of being told to pay attention. But with distracted driving causing just as many and often more deaths than speeding and impaired driving, no one is immune to the epidemic.

And it is an epidemic. It's responsible for some 4 million accidents in North America each year and studies have shown distracted drivers are four times more likely to get into a crash. It remains a leading cause of death on Ontario's roads and many other provinces. Distracted driving is often linked to what legislation refers to as using hand-held devices, but what most of us refer to as talking or texting on our phones.

In reality, it's not surprising. Our mobile devices have become extensions of ourselves and it's now instinctual to check them habitually. I checked mine twice while I was writing this article, but I'm not behind the wheel of a car right now. When you're driving, this little habit is a lethal one. It's why our laws are getting tougher and police are cracking down. And with the August long weekend straight ahead, you know they'll be out there looking for distracted drivers.

It's not worth the ticket, the fines, the related charges, the auto insurance premium hike, and it's certainly not worth risking your life, the lives of your loved ones, and the lives of other innocent people and drivers on the road.

5 Quick Tips To Avoid Using Your Phone While Driving

  • Pre-program your GPS or at least know where you're going beforehand so you don't need to check your phone
  • Put your phone on silent and deactivate vibrate to remove temptation
  • If you're playing music through your device, "set it and forget it." Flipping through tunes on your phone while driving is treated the same way as talking or texting
  • Pull over to a rest station or another safe place before making any calls
  • If you must talk while on the road, use a Bluetooth or another hands-free device

Before you head out this weekend, refresh yourself with this more detailed guide on Ways To Avoid Distracted Driving Habits. It will only take a moment to read and it might even save a life.

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