Esurance wants to reinforce the idea that smart people #DontCatchandDrive. In response to a surge of traffic accidents caused by mobile game playing, the home and auto insurer caused quite a scene. They recently staged a fender bender in order to warn drivers about the dangers associated with distracted driving.

Yes, #DontCatchandDrive specifically targets players of the popular Pokémon Go mobile game, but Esurance is sending a message to a wider audience. Drivers should avoid all types of mobile gaming while behind the wheel. And, as always, they should avoid any other distraction that could take their focus off the road.

Mobile Gaming and Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving

Drivers may be tempted to play a variety of games while getting from Point A to Point B in their cars. However, Pokémon Go has been extra problematic due to the nature of the game. Players of Pokémon Go are required to physically travel to certain locations in order to "catch" game characters. So, some people have been inspired to jump behind the wheel in order to catch more creatures faster.

This is a big problem. It is considered dangerous to engage in regular cell phone use while driving. So, imagine how distracted a driver can be while trying to catch cartoon characters that can only be seen on their mobile device. It's pretty crazy when you think about it.

The hashtag #DontCatchandDrive was created to draw awareness to the fact that it's a bad idea to play Pokémon Go while driving. Esurance made use of the trending hashtag during their recent safety demonstration in Chicago.

Esurance's Distracted Driver Demonstration

Esurance had a "distracted driver" hit a hot dog cart on the Windy City's popular Magnificent Mile. Fenderbendix was also a part of the scene. Fenderbendix is one of Esurance's mobile-game inspired creatures that causes fender benders.

People walking by at the time were startled to witness what looked like an accident and a small, green alien creature with a bird's beak. However, when they got up closer, they realized that no one was hurt. Right beside Fenderbendix and the wreck was the message "Smart People #DontCatchandDrive." This was just a staged reminder of the real-life dangers associated with distracted driving.

Avoiding All Types of Distracted Driving

Esurance has received positive feedback from consumers who either witnessed the demonstration in person or have viewed it online. Alan Gellman, chief marketing officer at Esurance offered these words about the event:

"We're always looking for unexpected, relatable ways to connect with people. Staging this scene allowed us to capture people's attention and send an important message about safe driving. We understand the appeal of exciting modern technology like augmented gaming, but we want people to be smart about how they use it."

So, have fun with your mobile games, but don't play them while driving.

Tips to Keep from Being Distracted on the Road

Esurance wants drivers to be smart behind the wheel in other ways as well. So, they have offered the following tips.

  • Use the "Do Not Disturb" feature. Your smartphone should have a feature that shuts down text messages and notifications. If it does, be sure to switch to this mode when you're operating your vehicle.
  • Don't make eye contact when talking to passengers. This may seem rude, but it will keep everyone in the car much safer. You can have a conversation, but keep your eyes on the road.
  • Clear your mind. Even if you're stressed out by whatever is happening in your life, try not to focus on these things while driving. Mental distractions can steal your attention just as much as physical ones.
  • Stop before you sip. You may feel like you need your coffee in order to get into your mornings. If so, wait until you're at a stop light before trying to drink hot coffee. If you burn yourself while the vehicle is in motion, you could cause a collision.

Basically, it comes down to this: If you're driving a car, you shouldn't be doing anything else.

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