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Published on May 01, 2015

Ditch Distraction Behind the Wheel

May 1, 2015

steering wheelOur world is hyper-connected, filled with text messages and phone conversations. When drivers continue this type of communication behind the wheel of a moving car, accidents are more likely to occur.

In 2012, an estimated 421,000 people were injured in car crashes involving distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Technology isn’t the only cause for concern. Daydreaming, conversing with a passenger, consuming food or beverages, applying cosmetics, and programming a navigation unit also take eyes off the road.

Tune Back In

It’s illegal to text or talk using a handheld phone while driving in the state of Illinois. Hands-free technology, such as speaker phones or headsets,
are permitted except when used by new drivers. If you’re constantly tempted to text or talk while driving, silence your phone and put it in the back seat or the glove compartment so it will be out of sight until you safely reach your
destination. Anti-texting apps are also available if you or a teenager in your family can’t break unsafe texting habits.

Road Rules

Before you put the key in the ignition, prepare to focus completely on the task of driving. Adjust the sound system, environmental controls, mirrors, and seat positioning. Make sure your passengers and cargo are secured, and put away your portable electronic devices.

Consider the following statistics:

  • Drivers using cell phones— hands-free as well as handheld—are four times more likely to be involved in a crash.
  • More than two-thirds of drivers report recently talking on their cell phones while driving, and one-third of them say they do so regularly.
  • Almost half of drivers age 18 to 29 accessed the internet on a cell phone while driving—one third of them to read social media posts and nearly half to check email.
  • Distracted driving is a factor in 16 percent of all motor vehicle crashes, 18 percent of injury accidents, and 10 percent of fatal crashes.

Even if you are not distracted by a cell phone call while on the road, the driver of a car near you may be, so be prepared to act quickly in response to erratic or inattentive driving by others.

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