BY Matthew C. Keegan | Editor, Auto Trends Magazine Are elderly…
Did you know that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month? If you’ve been following Be Car Chic at all, then you already know we support safe driving at all times (that means no cell phones in-hand while you’re driving!).
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is pretty telling on the impact of distraction. In 2014:
- There were 2,955 fatal crashes that occurred on U.S. roadways that involved distraction (10% of all fatal crashes).
- These crashes involved 3,000 distracted drivers, as some crashes involved more than one distracted driver.
- Distraction was reported for 7 percent (3,000 of 44,583) of the drivers involved in fatal crashes. In these distraction-affected crashes, 3,179 fatalities (10% of overall fatalities) occurred.
It’s the second Friday in April, so we wanted to remind you of our Distraction Free Fridays campaign, where we encourage drives to start forming better driving habits.
5 ways to make an impact on your driving during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month:
1) Connect your Bluetooth and tuck away your phone.
There’s no reason NOT to connect your phone to Bluetooth each and every time you get into your vehicle. Even if you’re just running errands, having the ability to take a call hands-free means not fumbling your device while driving. Driving at low speeds around town adds many more variables, such as pedestrians in a crosswalk, bicyclers, and children at play. Don’t chance the unexpected distraction; just pair your phone and tuck it into the center console.
2) Use steering wheel controls and voice command.
Once you’ve connected to your car’s Bluetooth, you should be able to control inbound and outgoing phone calls from the comfort of the steering wheel. That means you’re keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Voice commands aren’t always the most accurate in every car, so know what commands your car responds to in order to conduct the function you want — whether that’s making a call or changing the radio station. If your vehicle has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, then use those technologies to manage text messages and certain mobile apps. The tech is here, so use it!
3) Buy a phone mount.
Need to see your smartphone while you’re driving? Keep it in one place with a phone mount. There are literally dozens of choices for a phone mount. We’ve talked before about the benefits of mounting your phone, and this is probably one of the cheapest, easiest ways to keep your eyes at road level.
4) Download one of several mobile apps to help you.
AT&T, State Farm, Drive Beehive, and others have great ways to help you kick your distracted driving habits. Mobile apps like these will do anything from blocking incoming calls and text messages to tracking (and rewarding) your good-driving behavior.
5) Install a device to help track your driving habits.
Companies like Cellcontrol and hum by Verizon have developed tracking tools that connect into your vehicle’s OBD port. These are typically subscription-based, but they can do a world of good if you’ve got a new teen on the road. Parents, and even employers, can monitor driving statistics such as speed, distraction, and breaches of any geographic areas set off-limits (i.e. geofencing).