April is National Distracted Driving Month. The National Safety Council, which created National Distracted Driving Month, calls distracted driving “an epidemic.”
Why is it an epidemic?
Here are some frightening statistics:
-In 2016, 40,000 people died in car accidents, with 9,000 killed by speeding and 3,000 killed by distracted driving
-In 2016, 4.6 million people were injured in car accidents
-Car accidents are the #1 killer of teenagers
-In a recent survey, 64% of respondents said they were comfortable with speeding, 47% said they text while driving, 13% said they drive while high and 10% said they drive drunk.
Below we’ve listed tips for preventing distracted driving, which can also prevent unnecessary death.
1.) Put your cell phone down
That one seems like an obvious one, but it’s often hard to do. We have been conditioned to pick up our phone when it rings or when we are bored. Looking down at your phone for two seconds can be the difference between life or death. But looking at your phone isn’t the only problem–being on the phone PERIOD is a problem too. A new study found that a driver’s reaction time is 40% slower than that of a person not talking on the phone. Take the pledge to stay off your phone while driving, and if it’s an emergency, pull over.
2.) Put your cell on silent or shut it off
If you’re having difficulty not picking up your phone while driving, turn it on silent, shut it off, put it in your glove box or download an app that prevents distracted driving. The DMV has compiled a list of apps that can you help you drive safe. We recommend downloading LifeSaver, which blocks phone call use and lets loved ones know that you arrived safely, and SafeDrive, which awards you points towards coupons for safe driving.
3.) Buy a headset
Though we mentioned above that being on the phone, regardless if you’re touching it or not, can still be distracting, being on a headset is better than looking down at your phone or having one hand off the wheel. Also, many states have laws that make it illegal to be holding a phone while you drive. Consider investing in a headset. Here is PC Mag’s list of the best bluetooth headsets for 2017.