How to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents
Sending a text, eating your burrito, applying makeup — what do all of these have in common?
They’re all forms of driving while distracted. And according to the latest distracted driving statistics, it’s a problem that isn’t going away.
The Insurance Information Institute claims driving while interacting with a mobile device can increase the odds of a crash by as much as 3.5 times, compared to the risks that a sober, alert and attentive driver faces. Teens in particular are more susceptible to collisions, even when speaking hands-free on a mobile phone. Let’s explore the many ways you can help prevent distracted driving accidents.
So, What Is Distracted Driving?
Simply put, it’s doing anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving. Any time your mind and/or eyes are taken from the road, you’re technically distracted, which puts you at an increased risk of having an accident.
Distracted driving statistics alone should have us all concerned for the safety of everyone on the road. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that texting while driving is the most common form of distracted driving — and, it's the most dangerous.
The National Safety Council reports that 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by a distracted driver who was texting. Believe it or not, they also reported that texting and driving is six times more likely to pull your eyes off the road and cause an accident than is driving while intoxicated.
Is it Illegal to Use Your Phone While Driving?
Actually, it depends on which state you live in. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that there is a ban on hand-held cell phone use in almost half of the states, with 48 states banning text messaging for all drivers. Find out the distracted driving laws for your state to make sure you’re following the rules of the road.
Types of Distracted Driving
The first step to preventing distracted driving is understanding what distracted driving is. We’ve highlighted some of the most common forms of distracted driving with different ways to limit distractions while driving.
- Physically holding the phone while making calls
- Using your phone hands-free
- Looking at a map on your phone
- Sending or reading text messages
- Reading and replying to email
- Using the camera to take photos or video
- Applying makeup or looking into a vanity mirror
- Looking at or uploading digital media while driving
- Watching a streaming movie and driving
- Engaged in a Zoom, FaceTime or other video chat app while driving
- Surfing the internet while driving
- Sifting through your music app
- Checking social media
- Eating behind the wheel
- Multi-tasking while driving
How Does Distracted Driving Affect Insurance?
For starters, getting into an at-fault accident will almost always make your insurance premium go up, simply because your insurance company now deems you a higher-risk driver. Distracted driving is no exception. Even if you avoid an accident but you get a ticket for distracted driving, you’re susceptible to an increase in premium.
Protect Yourself From Distracted Drivers on the Road
Avoiding distracted driving behaviors is a great way to be safe on the road, and car insurance is a great way to stay protected from the unexpected. Talk to your agent today to find the right coverage for you.
Our commitment to helping young drivers
To help your family work together to drive more safely, we’ve put together a downloadable Safe Driving Promise — it’s a contract for both parents and teens that sets expectations and safe driving practices to follow. Use it to help shape your conversation on driving safely.
Learn more today about our Teen Safe Driver program and the discounts we’re offering for young drivers, too.
*Program discounts will vary based on driving behavior. The KnowYourDrive discount applies only to the following variable coverages, which are typical for most auto policies: bodily injury liability, property damage liability, collision and comprehensive, medical expense, underinsured and uninsured and personal injury protection. Additionally, the discount does not apply to fixed fees that are part of your policy.