What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 70 kph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
We all know texting and driving is illegal and dangerous, but we still do it. Why? Learn about all forms of distracted driving, laws to enforce safer behaviours, and why focusing on the road is so important.
Here are the Top 10 Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving
10. Fully focus on driving. Do not let anything divert your attention, actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.Senior Adjusting Mirror
9. Store loose gear, possessions and other distractions that could roll around in the car, so you do not feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
8. Make adjustments before you get underway. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
7. Finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
6. Snack smart. If possible, eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. On the road, avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage.
5. Secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the backseat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
4. Put aside your electronic distractions. Don’t use cell phones while driving – handheld or hands-free – except in absolute emergencies. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games or the internet with a wireless device, including those built into the vehicle, while driving.
3. If you have passengers, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.
2. If another activity demands your attention, instead of trying to attempt it while driving, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place. To avoid temptation, power down or stow devices before heading out.
1. As a general rule, if you cannot devote your full attention to driving because of some other activity, it’s a distraction. Take care of it before or after your trip, not while behind the wheel.
While you’re driving, you’re restricted from:
Using hand-held cell phones
Texting or e-mailing (even when stopped at red lights)
Using electronic devices like laptop computers, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players (e.g., MP3 players)
Entering information on GPS units
Reading printed materials
Writing, printing or sketching
Personal grooming (brushing and flossing teeth, putting on makeup, curling hair, clipping nails or shaving)
Know the Facts
Tickets for distracted driving are issued to the driver of the vehicle and not the registered owner.
Drivers engaged in any of the identified activities can be charged, even if their driving performance doesn’t appear to be affected
If a driver commits a moving violation while distracted, they would receive two tickets one for distracted driving and one for the moving violation
Drivers of emergency vehicles can use hand-held communication devices or other electronic devices only when acting within the scope of their employment
Get Involved: Help Stop Distracted Driving
We can all play a part in the fight to save lives by ending distracted driving.
Teens can be the best messengers with their peers, so we encourage them to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted, to have their friends sign a pledge to never drive distracted, to become involved in their local Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, and to share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors not to make the deadly choice to drive distracted.
Parents first have to lead by example—by never driving distracted—as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Have everyone in the family sign a pledge to commit to distraction-free driving.
Educators and Employers
Educators and employers can play a part, too. Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask your students to commit to distraction-free driving or set a company policy on distracted driving.
Make Your Voice Heard
If you feel strongly about distracted driving, be a voice in your community by supporting local laws, speaking out at community meetings, and highlighting the dangers of distracted driving on social media and in your local newspapers.