It’s still Distracted Driving Awareness Month and many companies are giving warnings, tips and offering solutions to the problem of driving while distracted. The numbers of people of all ages who attempt to do other things such as taking photos, taking selfies, texting, posting to social media, changing clothes and even having sex. The bottom line is that you can’t drive and do something else at the same time.
GEICO Warns Even If Embedded Car Functions Are Distracting
While Allstate is giving rides in a virtual distracted driving machine, GEICO insurance warns, if a brain surgeon texted while performing surgery, or a chemist called to get baseball scores while mixing flammable compounds, or a pilot took a selfie while landing a helicopter, what do you think the outcome would be? Not very good would be your first thought.
The same goes for drivers who operate their vehicles while distracted. You just can’t expect a good outcome.
To mark Distracted Driving Awareness Month, GEICO wants drivers to stay in the know on distractions behind the wheel, and offers these thoughts on how to do just that.
Are you driving distracted?
- My car has voice command technology, and that keeps me from becoming distracted, right?This isn’t always the case. While voice commands help keep your hands on the wheel, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found drivers still took their eyes off the road while using them. Voice commands also can cause the driver to lose focus. If the system makes an error with an address on the GPS for example, it can easily cause drivers to divert their attention, which can lead to a driving error.
- Can I do things like texting and putting on makeup while driving because I’m a really good multi-tasker?Actually, multi-tasking is a big myth; so the answer is no. Our brains rapidly switch between tasks, which can have a significant impact on driving performance.
- How can driving distracted blind a driver?Distractions can cause what researchers call inattention blindness, which could lead to drivers missing objects such as emergency vehicles, road signs and pedestrians as a result of a distraction according to IIHS.
- What are the consequences of driving distracted?Drivers who choose to text behind the wheel or operate a handheld device could potentially face fines according to IIHS. Additionally, drivers’ insurance rates could increase if they cause a crash as a result of driving distracted.
Set a Safe Driving Example
Become a part of the solution to distracted driving by leaving distractions out of your daily drives. Keep phones on silent, set GPS destinations before shifting into drive, pull over to eat and take care of your primping needs earlier or later.
Liberty Mutual & SADD “Ask them to Stop”
If you find yourself riding with a distracted driver, don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your concern – sometimes safe driving needs to stretch to the passenger seat.
Liberty Mutual and SADD tells everyone to ask the driver to stop their distracted behaviour. According to a recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), 95 percent of teens say they would stop engaging in dangerous or distracting behaviors while driving, if a passenger asked them to.* This percentage comes from a sample of students who admitted to engaging in dangerous behaviors while driving.
How can parents help their teens keep safety top of mind? Below are just a few pointers from Dr. Gene Beresin, Senior Advisor on adolescent psychiatry with SADD and Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Mass General Hospital:
- Drive now, Snap later. Two out of three teens admit to using apps while driving.* Remind teens that using apps or taking photos while driving is just as dangerous as texting while driving. Phones should be kept out of sight to avoid potential distractions.
- Extended curfews mean tired teens. After a long and exciting prom day, teens are bound to be tired. 36 percent of teens have taken measures to wake up (i.e., opening up the windows) when driving.* Remind teens to call for a ride if they’re too tired to drive home late at night, and reassure them that you will pick them up no matter what time it is.
- Passengers on prom night. Energetic prom-goers can be distracting passengers. Speak with teens about how many friends they can drive with on prom night and remind them that distractions can come from inside the car too.
- Talk with teens. Set clear expectations for prom night so your teen will stay safe and you can worry less. Liberty Mutual’s Teen Driving Contract acts as a conversation-starter and customized agreement for parents and teens to get on the same page this prom season.
Klashwerks Study Explains Why There Are Clashes of Consciousness
A Klashwerks study found the following responses about driving distracted:
Do you multitask in the car while driving?
- I send/read text messages — 17%
- I send/read emails — 7.3%
- I browse the Internet/social media — 4.9%
- I get work done — 2.8%
Which of the below activities are you regularly tempted to do while driving?
- Eat/prepare food — 43%
- Make phone/video calls — 42.8%
- Send/read emails or text messages — 38.1%
- Drive fast — 35.7%
- Browse the Internet/social media — 13.2%
- Tend to kids or pets in the backseat — 11.4%
- Groom myself — 11%
- Road rage — 10.8%
- Briefly close my eyes or sleep — 5.5%
- Have sex — 4.7%
- Pass on the shoulder or drive illegally — 3.6%
- Play mobile games (i.e. Pokemon Go) — 3.3%
- Change clothes — 2.8%
- Livestream my driving — 1.7%
What Klashwerks suggests to keep drivers safe on the road (while staying connected):
- Map your route in advance – By using apps like Google Maps and Waze, you’ll know what to expect before you get in the car — being stressed or frustrated often results in poor decisions and risky behavior behind the wheel.
- Turn on location services – FOMO? No mo’! Sharing your location with friends and family while you’re driving can reduce the risks of becoming distracted. How? Apps like Find my Friends or Life360 let others know when you’re on the move so you don’t have to worry about texting or calling back right away.
- Make your phone send texts for you – You don’t have to turn off your phone while you drive. Instead, download DriveMode — an app that responds to incoming messages for you to let loved ones know you’re driving. An alternative? Safely Go reads texts, emails, etc. aloud.
Mojo Rewards Safe Driving
On the other side of the dashboard is the app that rewards for not apping, texting or using your phone while driving.
The app maker notes:
- You’re 12.2 times more likely to crash from dialing a phone.
- You’re 6.1 times more likely to crash from texting.
- You’re 2.2 times more likely to crash while talking on the phone.
- 16-19 year olds are three times more likely to be in a fatal car crash.
If you’re one of the millions of drivers who keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel instead of on a phone, you could be earning cash thanks to Mojo, a new app from TrueMotion. The app automatically tracks your trips and how much time you drive without distraction. The safer you drive, the more points you earn, which can be redeemed to win cash and prizes. The app’s launch coincides with April, which is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and part of TrueMotion’s overall mission to make the roads safer for all.
After downloading and installing the app, Mojo runs automatically in the background and tracks each trip you take. Based on your frequency of distraction, which Mojo defines as Swiping and Typing; Handheld Calls; and Handsfree Calls, you get an overall Mojo score. Your score adjusts up or down after each trip based on how much or how little you were distracted by your phone.
Each minute driven without distraction counts as a point. When you’ve earned 300 points, you get to spin the prize wheel, where you have a chance to win cash — a $5 Amazon gift card.
If winning prizes and competing with your friends isn’t quite enough to max your score, we’ve built “nudges” into the app to help you kick any bad habits you might have developed over the years. These helpful reminders tell you exactly how to keep improving and put down the phone for good.”Resisting the temptation to interact with our phone while behind the wheel is hard. According to surveys and our own research, many of us are fighting a losing battle and as a result distracted driving has spiked to alarming levels,” said Scott Griffith, co-founder and CEO of TrueMotion. “Through extensive research and testing we’ve shown that it’s possible to lower distraction levels using the very technology that is causing the problem. Mojo, which was developed based on our research and testing, is designed to make it easy, fun and rewarding to stop picking up our phone when we’re behind the wheel.”
Headquartered in Boston, Mass., TrueMotion combines the power of mobile technology, machine learning and data science to impact the rising rate of auto accidents and fatalities. Its patented technology accurately identifies drivers and scores their actual driving behaviors, which reduces instances of distracted driving and other risky behaviors for up to 75 percent of users. It also offers TrueMotion Family, a free mobile app that makes it fun and easy for everyone in a family to track each other’s driving behavior and to stay connected while on the road.