Distracted driving is a growing concern on the roads. Last year in Ontario, the number of fatalities resulting from some form of distracted driving (78) exceeded deaths caused by impaired driving (57), and speeding (44). The Ontario government predicts this will be standard by 2016.
Every province has some form of distracted driving legislation, and it's against the law for good reason. Studies have found that distracted drivers are three times more likely to be in a crash than attentive drivers. Driver distraction has also been found to pay a role in about four million motor vehicle crashes in North America each year.
Yet a 2012 study conducted by KANETIX and Leger Marketing found that the majority of Canadians admit to having at least one bad habit at the wheel. Approximately eight in 10 Canadian motorists confess to regularly eating, speeding, talking or text messaging, following too closely, and/or routinely failing to signal.
Momentary distractions may seem innocent enough, but studies indicate that just seconds of inattention dramatically increases the potential for accidents. By following these simple tips and precautions, you can help reduce that risk of distracted driving in Canada and ensure you arrive at your destination safely.
Know where you are going
Thanks to technology, it's never been easier for drivers to find their destinations. However, fiddling with devices or looking down at a map can increase the risk of an accident. Pre-program your GPS system before you leave home, and remember to allow yourself plenty of travel time to get where you're going.
Set phones to silent or hands-free
Mobile phones can be an important tool in the event you become stranded, are involved in an accident, or need to contact emergency services. However, text message alerts and calls are distracting when driving-and using mobile devices while on the road is illegal in Canada. Set your phone to silent so as not to distract your attention from the road, or if absolutely necessary make use of hands-free technologies. If you must make a call or send a text, pull over to a safe location first.