woman opens spotify behind the wheel and is guilty of distracted driving

Are You Guilty of Distracted Driving, Yes or No?

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There were over one thousand road deaths in Australia between January 2021 to January 2022. That’s an increase of over 2% from the previous year. Many of these lives were lost through distracted driving and needn’t have been.

Remember, as you cruise along the road at 50 kilometres per hour all it takes is two seconds of distracted driving to fault your driving. It’s even less at higher speeds, so imagine the impact when on the freeway. Literally.

What’s hard to stomach is that distracted driving isn’t necessarily about being a bad driver.

5 ways to avoid distracted driving

You can have the best driving skills in the world and still crash because your focus is on your phone, your espresso or a runaway bug. In fact, most serious injuries from crashes happen to men between 40-59 years. They’re very likely people with lots of driving experience.

No matter where you rank your skills behind the wheel, if you avoid these top five driving distractions, you’re headed in the right direction.

#1. Mobile phone

Mobile phones have become like an extension of our bodies. They’re like extensions to our limbs that facilitate our eyes, ears and overall existence. But, just one quick glance at your phone while you’re on the road could result in a loss of those limbs, or worse, your life.

Statistically speaking a car crash is almost 13 times more likely when you use your phone behind the wheel.

Think about it this way: Your phone can wait, your safety can’t. It’s absolutely more important to miss a text than to miss seeing a red traffic light. It’s better to reply to a text late than be remembered as the late family member and friend.

Phones are super useful, sure. But a short break from your phone during your drive will help keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Turn your volume off and enjoy the drive! If you’re lost and need to make a call or check your GPS, stop first, then do it.

Not quite as common a distraction as our phones is self-grooming done in the car. Read the stats on doing makeup in the car and why you shouldn’t.

woman avoids distracted driving by pulling over to check phone

#2. Passengers

Ever caused distracted driving through being a backseat driver? Most of us can probably say yes. For new drivers especially, having your friends in your car radically ups your risk of road incident.

According to Road Safety Education, if you’re new on the road and have two buddies of a similar age as passengers, you’re two times more likely to have a serious crash.

The point is that driving is no joke. We’re on the road together with a fairly thin film of metal between us and every other car hurtling by. We’re going in multiple directions and at multiple speeds.

Like anything, the more you do it the better you get. When you’re still getting the hang of things it’s only natural all your focus should be on steering, keeping your feet in the right position, changing gears (for the manual drivers amongst us) and processing the flow of traffic around you while navigating from A to B.

If having your friends in your car is distracting you, tell them to cool off. If they don’t like it, consider getting new friends. It’s not just OK to be safe rather than sorry, it’s totally legit. And because pets are friends too read how to stay safe with pets in cars because telling them to shush and sit still usually won’t work.

At the best of times, even with complete focus, incidents can still happen. That’s why car insurance for young drivers (and all drivers) is so crucial. Find out what factors affect the car insurance cost for a new driver and, if you’re older and more experienced, read 5 ways to reduce your car insurance premium.

Stay focused on the road even with passengers

#3. Music

We all love music. Whether it’s the PNAU remix of Cold Heart by Elton John and Dua Lipa or Stay by The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber, we each have our personal top of the charts. But alas. Listening to music uses up your senses and could take them off the road.

But it’s not just the music itself that can cause distracted driving. The music device also plays a major role in taking your eyes and hands away from driving.

We’re not telling you what to do and what not to do. But in the interest of safety, perhaps if you’re listening to music in the car put the effort in and plan your playlist in advance. Also, keep the levels low so you can hear what’s going on around your car.

Audio signals from around you tell you a lot you may not even realise you’re processing and reacting to.

distracted driving can result from music devices

#4. Eating

Food and drink come in at number four. Yes we’re driven (literally) by our basic need to eat and drink. BTW, when we say drink, we’re referring to water, juice, tea and coffee and not alcohol – that’s absolutely out of the equation in the car.

But we’ve come a long way from our hunter-gatherer days. In other words, just because we have the food right now doesn’t mean we have to eat it right now. For all you coffee-lovers, ourselves included, that creates a predicament. Right? How do you possibly let your flat white get cold?

Don’t. Just get it after you arrive at work, and not on the way. Simply arrive alive and then get your coffee. Even though it heightens your senses coffee won’t prevent distracted driving.

In some cases if eating your cornflakes in a travel bowl [or just insert food/drink of choice] leads to crashing your car, it could be deemed illegal. Find out why in our article ‘is it illegal to eat while driving?’

eating in car can be illegal if it hinders driving

#5. External distractions

Don’t be that person who loves the scenery more than the road. Don’t be a distracted driver. The scenery is only worth it when it’s 100% safe to look at it. If a seagull flies past you or you notice a great new shop you’ve not seen before, let them be.

The seagull will continue on its merry way and you can too. You can come back to shop another day. Window shopping from your car can be more costly than buying everything in-store.

Instead of falling prey to distracted driving, give this article another once over for good measure then read these five defensive driving skills.

Get affordable and reliable car insurance

Comprehensive car insurance is a great way to protect your pocket from the costs involved in sooooo many car related incidents. Like repairs when you’re bumped off the road by someone who’s distracted driving. Or replacement when your car gets t-boned at an intersection or stolen while you’re on holidays. Ditto for fires, floods and hail.

Think about it. There’s nothing better than knowing you can pay a little in each month and in your hour of need you can get paid out. Having your back covered is easy, online and you can start now. Just click the button below.

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