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Traffic Safety Distracted Driving

Disconnect & Drive

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
recently completed research that indicates mental
distraction alone dangerously affects drivers behind the
wheel. The research also shows that hands-free features,
increasingly common in new vehicles, are among the most
distracting. Just because a drivers’ eyes are on the road
and hands are on the wheel doesn’t mean that they’re safely
focused on driving.

Distractions were responsible for vehicle crashes leading to
3,179 deaths and 431,000 injuries in 2014, according to the
most recent data provided by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Free Disconnect and Drive bumper magnets are available
at AAA Car Care centers and AAA Travel offices, or make
a request by contacting Traffic Safety.

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
  • Don’t touch that dial.

    Adjust seat positions, climate controls, sound
    systems, and other devices before you leave or
    while the vehicle is stopped. Know how your
    controls work, so if you must adjust something
    on the fly, you’ll be less distracted. Use
    presets for radio and climate control, or have
    your passenger assist you.

  • Stop to eat or drink.

    Drive-through windows and giant cup holders make
    it tempting to have a meal while driving, but
    you’re safer when you stop to eat or drink.
    Reducing your risk will be worth the time you
    spend.

  • Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone
    or send text messages and emails.

    Mobile phones can be a great resource for
    getting help or reporting trouble. But, whether
    you use a handheld phone or a hands-free device,
    talking while driving causes you to take your
    mind off the task at hand (and sometimes your
    eyes and hands, too). Your best bet is to pull
    off the road to a safe spot before you use your
    phone to talk or text. Find a safe area away
    from traffic. Learn how your phone’s controls
    work in case an emergency call while driving is
    unavoidable. Practice good habits: Turn your
    phone off before you drive, so you won’t be
    tempted to answer calls on the road.

  • Plan ahead.

    Check directions and traffic conditions before
    you leave, so you’ll be prepared for your
    journey. If you have a GPS, enter your
    destination information before departing, and
    pull over to a safe place if you need to make
    changes or review maps or route guidance. If
    possible, use a passenger as your navigator and
    assistant. Don’t multitask and drive. Driving is
    complicated enough — you’ll become distracted if
    you do other things, too. Don’t use the
    vehicle’s mirrors for personal grooming when the
    vehicle is in motion. Don’t try to read or write
    while you’re behind the wheel. Just drive. Pull
    over to care for children. Change the baby, feed
    the kids, and buckle them into their vehicle
    seats before you leave. If you need to attend to
    them, pull over in a safe place — don’t try to
    handle children while you’re driving.

  • Help teens identify and reduce
    distractions.

    New drivers face a big challenge behind the
    wheel; in fact, the Insurance Institute for
    Highway Safety reports that for every mile they
    drive, teens are four times more likely to be
    involved in a crash than other drivers.
    Additionally, crash risk increases with the
    number of passengers. Parents must model safe
    driving behaviors and teach teens to limit
    distractions and focus on the road.

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