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Loss Control

Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness month. This year, it includes a solar eclipse.

April 1, 2024

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), nine people, on average, are killed every day in the U.S. from distracted driving crashes. Each year, thousands of innocent bystanders are also injured, or worse.

Texting and hand-held cell phone use lead the cause of distracted driving. Drivers between the ages of 25 and 34 are statistically the most distracted.

The NSC recognizes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This event is intended to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and encourage motorists to minimize potential distractions behind the wheel. And this April, there is an added distraction: A solar eclipse on April 8 that will bathe areas of North America from Mexico to New England in total darkness.

Review the following information on distracted driving and ways you can help prevent it.

Distracted Driving Overview

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving is any activity that may divert a motorist’s attention from the road. Three main types of distractions can interfere with drivers’ attentiveness behind the wheel, including:

Visual Distractions

These distractions involve motorists taking their eyes off the road. Some examples of visual distractions include reading emails or text messages, focusing on vehicle passengers, looking at maps or navigation systems, and observing nearby activities (e.g., accidents, traffic stops or roadside attractions) while driving.

Manual Distractions

Such distractions entail motorists removing their hands from the steering wheel. Key examples of manual distractions include texting, adjusting the radio, programming navigation systems, eating, drinking or performing personal grooming tasks (e.g., applying makeup) while driving.

Cognitive Distractions

These distractions stem from motorists taking their minds off driving. Primary examples of cognitive distractions include talking on the phone, conversing with vehicle passengers or daydreaming while driving.

Distracted Driving Prevention Tips

Whenever you get behind the wheel, keep these distracted driving prevention measures in mind:

  • Put away your phone. Silence your phone and store it in a location that is out of reach while driving to lower the temptation to check it.
  • Plan your trip before you leave. Program your navigation system before hitting the road to familiarize yourself with your route.
  • Don’t fumble with your playlist. Select a radio station or plug in a predetermined playlist before driving to limit the need for music adjustments.
  • Secure passengers. Ensure kids are correctly situated in car seats (if needed) with seat belts fastened. Keep pets stationary in the back seat.
  • Avoid multitasking. Never complete additional tasks—such as eating or personal grooming—behind the wheel.
  • Stay focused. Concentrate your mind on the road by keeping distracting conversations to a minimum and looking straight ahead.

Driving During an Eclipse

If you must be on the road during the eclipse, also keep these tips in mind:

  • Don’t wear eclipse glasses while driving. Effective solar eclipse glasses are thousands of times darker than regular sunglasses and will prevent you from seeing almost everything.
  • Keep your eyes on the road, not on the sun. Also, do not try to use your phone to take a picture of the sun while driving.
  • Drive defensively. Watch for other drivers who may be distracted during the eclipse.

Finally, be alert for bystanders and people watching the eclipse who may wander into the road. Let’s keep everyone safe this April.

Related Reading: 12 Tips: Preparing Fleets for the Solar Eclipse

The above information does not constitute advice. Always contact your insurance broker or trusted advisor for insurance-related questions.

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