Most of us have, at some point in our lives, taken a moment to respond to a text while driving – after all, it only takes a second! But what we often fail to realize is how dangerously addictive distracted driving can be.
Driving requires full attention and focus on the road, yet many of us struggle with putting away our phones and staying alert behind the wheel.
In this blog post, we will explore why so many people are drawn towards engaging in distracting behaviors while driving and provide tips for becoming an attentive driver.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from the task of driving. The term is used to refer to all types of activities that take your attention away from the road and focus on something else.
Examples of distracted driving include eating while driving, reading a map, fiddling with the radio, texting, taking photos, and even engaging with passengers. Distracted driving is a serious issue that can lead to accidents, serious injuries, and even fatalities.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Auto insurance carriers estimate that over nine people die each day because of distracted driving, which equates to over 367,000 people each year. Whether you’re late for work or are mindlessly checking your Instagram feed, it’s not worth the life of you or someone else.
The problem is that sometimes we just can’t help picking up our phone. You get that itching feeling that you just have to check your messages or your Facebook feed. That itching feeling is called cell phone addiction.
Put Your Phone Away
The average person is addicted to their phone, spending over 5 hours per day scrolling through Facebook, TikTok, and whatever other app they have on their phone. That’s more than half of the time that we spend sleeping and more than double the amount of time we spend eating, just to put it in perspective.
If you spend more than 10 minutes in the car every day, odds are you pick up your phone at least once. That one time takes your eyes off the road for 5 or so seconds, and at 55 mph in the 5 seconds, you’ve traveled the length of a football field.
Not convinced that you could be addicted to your cell phone? Take the Smartphone Compulsion Test provided by the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction. It’s a short 15-question, yes or no quiz that determines if you could be addicted to your phone. Be prepared for some unsatisfactory results.
The alarming problem with cell phone addiction and distracted driving is that it’s become the norm. People know that it’s dangerous to text while driving but continue to do it anyway. Travelers Insurance completed a survey of 1,000 customers, and the results were that 77% of drivers admitted to making calls while driving, 44% sent texts or emails, and 31% said they’d had a near miss because of being distracted.
Create a Distraction-Free Environment in Your Car
Mason-McBride encourages you to take the National Safety Council safe-driving pledge. We all make mistakes, and accidents happen, but making an effort to beat cell phone addiction and distracted driving is something you can control.
For your own safety and the safety of others who share the road with you, pledge to Just Drive. As a commitment to not drive distracted in any way – you pledge to not:
- Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth
- Text or send Snapchats
- Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system
- Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok or other social media
- Check or send emails
- Take selfies or film videos
- Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion)
- Call or message someone else when I know they are driving
Take the risk out of your morning commute and sign the pledge here.
Practice Mindful Driving
The next time you’re tempted to check your phone while driving, ask yourself if it’s really worth risking your life. And if you find that you can’t resist the urge to text and drive, there are a few steps you can take to break the habit:
- Put your phone in the backseat or trunk so you can’t reach it while driving.
- Download an app that disables your phone while driving.
- Tell your friends and family not to call or text you while they know you’ll be driving.
- If you must use your phone for directions, pull over first.
- Remember, even hands-free devices can be distracting – try to limit how much you use them while on the road.
We all have a responsibility to ourselves and others to stay focused when we hit the open road. By breaking our addiction to distracted driving, we can make our roads safer for everyone.
Distracted driving is a serious issue that can lead to serious consequences. It can cause car accidents, property damage, and even fatalities.
To break the addiction to distracted driving, you must put your phone away, create a distraction-free environment in your car, and minimize distractions with apps and programs designed to help. When you’re behind the wheel, your attention should be focused on the road and prepared for unexpected hazards.
It’s time to stand together and fight distracted driving.
Have More Questions?
If you have any questions about your coverage or want to review your policy limits, please contact us.