By: Blake Wimsey
Special to Guthrie News Page
Blake Wimsey operates Foundation Insurance in downtown Guthrie.
The #1 Cause of Auto Accidents in America
When you think of what might cause an auto accident, where does your mind go first? Someone late for work that runs a red light, or maybe even someone driving under the influence? The truth is that distracted driving is far and away the leading cause of all auto accidents, especially those resulting in fatalities.
“I don’t use my phone in the car so I’m not at risk.”
Committing to putting away your cell phone is a great start, but many people don’t realize that distracted driving can include a number of other factors. The following are some other leading contributors to distracted driving crashes:
- Reaching for a moving object within your car
- Adjusting the radio or controls within the vehicle’s dashboard
- Applying makeup
- Interacting with other passengers
“I’m safe because my vehicle has a hands-free option.”
There are no statistics to support the fact that a hands-free device is safer than holding the phone up to your ear. A driver trying to actively listen and engage in conversation with someone can still be considered “distracted” if they are trying to watch the road, other drivers, obey all traffic signals and be on guard for potential unforeseen hazards that may present themselves. It is best to commit to not using your phone or hands-free device at all. Unless, of course, it’s an emergency.
“So, what can I do to stay safe?”
- Drivers are encouraged to keep their cell phones put away while driving. Putting your phone in your console or glove box can be an effective way to keep yourself from temptation.
- Make sure others know that you are committed to driving without distraction. Many smart phones have functions you can implement to let others know when you are driving if they try to call or text you.
- Consider your current driving habits. Do you routinely eat breakfast in the car on the way to work or put your makeup on at stoplights? Doing a mental audit of your habits can help create awareness that leads to making change.
- Don’t call or text others when you know they are driving.
- Consider reasons why you should drive without distractions. Think of how your loved ones may be affected if you were to be hurt, and consider the other drivers on the road and their families. Think the regret you might feel if you were to cause an accident while talking on the phone. Consider the increased cost of vehicle repairs, insurance costs and traffic tickets. Considering the potential consequences of distracted driving can help you make better decisions and break bad habits.