April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and putting an end to that dangerous but all-too-common practice is important. The National Safety Council shared some eye-opening statistics about road safety, while Allstate is hosting its fifth annual Reality Rides® tour to advocate against distracted driving.

National Safety Council: How Drivers Threaten Road Safety

distracted drivingThe National Safety Council works to eliminate preventable deaths through research, education and advocacy. Each April, they speak out during Distracted Driving Awareness Month to get their point across: just drive.

Motor vehicle fatality rates are increasing, and the council believes distracted driving plays a big part in that. So, they conducted a survey to get a feel for the room. What they found were several alarming driver habits that highlight the need to continue raising awareness against the dangers of distracted driving.

  • 47% of drivers think it is "safe" to text manually or via voice-recognition systems while driving.
  • 35% of teenagers would use social media when behind the wheel.
  • 45% of respondents said they feel pressure from employers to check their email while driving.
  • 17% of teens say their own distraction may have contributed to an accident.
  • 66% of drivers voiced safety concerns because of another driver's distraction.
  • 25% feel their own distractions behind the wheel have put themselves or others at risk.

Distracted driving threatens road safety and puts motorists at risk. Clearly, safer behaviors have to be adopted. National Distracted Driving Awareness Month just happens to be the perfect time to talk about what can be done.

Allstate's Reality Rides Tour

The insurer Allstate is also trying to help "put the brakes on distracted driving." They are hosting their fifth annual Reality Rides tour. The tour, which will stop in 50 cities throughout the United States and Canada, educates and advocates against the dangerous practice in several different interactive ways.

For example, they have a distracted driving vehicle simulator. Users sit in the stationary car and screens show them common driving situations that they have to navigate while engaging in distracted driving behaviors. These include texting, answering the phone, and using in-car technology like the GPS system.

The simulator seems to do a good job of getting the point across. Before trying it, almost 50% of surveyed participants said they text while driving. Afterward, nearly 60% said they'll never text while driving. Also, over 50% said they won't let others drive distracted either.

Distracted Driving Safety Tips

According to the Advocates For Highway & Auto Safety, distracted driving killed nearly 3,500 people and injured almost 400,000 in the U.S. in 2015. That needs to change, and you can help by following these tips.

  • Keep The Phone Down, Off or Out of Reach - You shouldn't be using your cell phone for any reason while driving. Even making no-hands phone calls can be a dangerous distraction. Allstate recommends keeping your phone out of reach to eliminate your desire to check it.
  • Always Keep Your Focus on the Road - You need to keep your eyes and your focus on what's going on around you at all times. Things can go wrong at any moment, but keeping aware will help you be ready. That means you need to forget about multitasking. For example, you should input directions on your navigation system prior to getting on the road. Also, be careful about loud music, engaging in conversation with passengers, and anything else that can take your mind off the road.
  • Use Defensive Driving Techniques - If we all adopted a defensive driving mindset, everybody would be safer on the roads. That means keeping both hands on the wheel at all times, following the speed limit, and always maintaining a safe following distance. There's a reason we all learned this stuff in driver's training.

The Bottom Line

Join the National Safety Council and Allstate to take action against distracted driving this April and beyond. Nothing is worth putting yourself, your passengers, and others on the roadways at risk of injury or death.

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