Many states – including my own – have passed laws that prohibit texting and driving – and for a good reason. Texting, using, cell phones, eating and drinking, adjusting the music or using a navigation system are distractions for many drivers in the car. Being distracted behind the wheel can lead to deadly consequences and I encourage you to take action now.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates approximately 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or fussing with electronics at any given daylight moment. From a 2011 NHTSA study, statistics show the number of injuries resulting from distraction-affected crashes is climbing, and has affected an estimated 421,000 people. These are really big numbers, and all parents can help to reduce the frequency of these types of accidents simply by keeping their eyes on the road.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself Behind the Wheel
To help keep you and your family safe on the road, MetLife Auto & Home offers the following five questions to ask yourself while driving:
- Are you really keeping your eye on the road? With more cars equipped with advanced technology and often looking like massive entertainment centers, it can be easy to get distracted and forget the main reason that you’re behind the wheel. Keep in mind these distractions can cut your reaction time in half, and with most accidents occurring in seconds, you need all the time you can get.
- Are you awake enough to drive? Driver fatigue leads to driver inattentiveness, and according to the NHTSA, 100,000 crashes are caused each year by drivers being asleep at the wheel. Recognize the signs of drowsy driving, which include difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, irritability, and frequent yawning—and then take action.
- Are you more interested in your cell phone conversation than the road ahead? Many states are placing restrictions on the use of cell phones while driving. Even in states where it’s permissible, avoid doing so whenever possible. Talking on a cell phone will increase the likelihood of getting involved in a motor vehicle accident, so if you absolutely need to call, pull off the road to a safe location and dial away. This is a big deal for teen drivers, too. If you have a young driver in the home, encourage a no-tolerance rule for texting/talking on the phone and driving.
- Do you have a designated deejay? Simple things like changing the radio dial or finding that “perfect song” may seem harmless, but they can be a big distraction. Whenever possible, let your passengers “take the wheel” when it comes to selecting the musical mood.
- Are you day-driving or daydreaming? Even without external distractions, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about personal problems or work assignments. If you feel yourself losing your focus, give yourself a wakeup call, and set aside your problems. They can wait until the ride is over.
As a multi-tasker and mother I admit that I oftentimes stay up into the wee hours in the morning to get everything done. I have learned that this is not always the most effective way to live your life. I have actually had to call out of work because I was so tired in the morning I knew that I should not be behind a wheel. It is important that as a responsible driver you realize when it is best to stay where you are instead of getting behind the wheel.
Driver’s Ed Refresh
When was the last time you took a class or had a refresher driving course? I don’t know about you but I took Driver’s Ed in school when I was 15 and showed up at the DMV on my sixteenth birthday to get my driver’s license. Let’s go Back to Driver’s Ed and check out some of the common mistakes even the best of us make! I’m sure you will be surprised and maybe even pick up a reminder or two when it comes to road rules.
Get a MetLife Quote
Did you know? By purchasing home or auto insurance through your employer, you can save money by taking advantage of group discounts. If your or your spouse’s employer offers MetLife Auto & Home’s group insurance program, you could receive special savings-others who switched saved an average of $466/year! Get an instant quote today!
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I am currently a member of the MetLife Auto & Home Insurance Blogger Program and this post is part of my involvement. While MetLife has provided me with materials and necessary resources to complete various activities, all statements and sentiment in Shibley Smiles are my own.