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Curb your distracted driving with these tips

Did you know that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near collision than non-distracted drivers?

Distracted driving and other unsafe behaviours behind the wheel are a hazard year-round, but become more dangerous when kids are in school. In a recent CAA survey, parents with young kids reported they have seen an increase in unsafe driving practices in school zones. Help keep everyone safe with these easy ways to avoid distracted driving.

Have time on your side. The number one thing we can all do to be safer is give ourselves enough travel time to get to our destination so we don’t have to rush. Time is your friend, so try to do what you can to give yourself some extra minutes — whether it’s waking up a bit earlier, planning out a more efficient route, or getting some tasks done the night before.

Plan ahead. Set the GPS and review all maps and directions before heading out. If you’re unsure about where you’re going, google directions or call for instructions while you’re still in the driveway. It can be tempting to do this while you’re moving, but even hands-free calls have been linked to higher crash and near-collision rates.

Before driving. Make sure the kids are in their car seats or buckled up, and have any items they might need in reach, including something to drink or play with. Stow and secure loose objects like your bag and cell phone so you’re not adjusting them if they shift while you’re driving. Do daily tasks like makeup, shaving, and drinking your coffee before you leave home.

While driving. Remember that distracted driving is any activity that lessens your focus on the road. Let your calls go to voicemail and don’t text, use apps or read emails. Checking a text for only five seconds means that at 90 kilometres per hour, you’ve travelled the length of a football field blindfolded. Finally, keep an eye out for student volunteers in the CAA School Safety Patrol.

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