Blog By: Ken Mogren, CPCU
We’re seeing more and more auto crashes where distracted driving is a factor. Small wonder when you consider all the electronic marvels at our finger tips to distract us. The information and entertainment options that come straight from the factory, embedded right in our dashboards, go far beyond what was found in the cars of a generation ago, but an even greater danger comes from the cell phones and smart phones to which a growing number of people are tethered.
Of course, none of the readers of this blog post would ever consider using such devices while driving, so this message is about protecting yourself from the legions of people who ARE driving distracted. If you’ve seen the comparisons of the likelihood of an accident while talking on a cell phone or texting compared to normal driving, you should need no convincing that it’s getting more dangerous out on the roads. We’ve seen studies that conclude cell phone use quadruples the risk of a crash. Coincidentally, that’s about the same increase in risk as driving while legally intoxicated. But texting and driving is far worse. We saw one study showing texting to be 23 times more dangerous!
There ought to be a law, you say. Well, there are plenty of laws and more are being passed each year to curb the dangers of distracted driving. But, there are laws against speeding and drunk driving, too, and they get broken every day. In fact, most traffic fatalities are the result of people doing what they should not. The point is: laws alone aren’t going to protect you.
So how do you avoid being a distracted driving victim? How about increasing your own attentiveness while driving back to the level it was when you first learned to drive? Remember how tuned in you were because you were scared you might get in an accident? Then, as you got more comfortable driving and could do it using half a brain, perhaps you started using the other half for something else. Half tuned in may not be enough anymore, given the number of people you’re sharing the road with who are scarcely tuned in at all.