CHICAGO- It’s the start of Spring Break for many, and soon more cars will be on the roads as schools let out for the week. and families begin their vacations. More congested roads can lead to more accidents. Responsible driving habits are critical to keeping our roads safe, and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is joining nationwide efforts to promote the importance of distracted driving awareness.
The National Safety Council recently announced that 2016 may have been the deadliest year on our roads since 2007. One of the most frightening trends is the ubiquitous use of smartphones behind the wheel.
“Distracted driving is thought to be one of the leading causes for the rise in vehicle accidents. Whether it’s making a quick call, firing off a text, or adjusting the navigation system, in that short lapse of focus, all too often drivers can cause or fail to avoid a crash. And our increasingly congested roads compound the problem,” said Bob Passmore, PCI’s assistant vice president, personal lines policy.
The implementation and enforcement of distracted-driving laws, which discourage texting while driving and ban handheld cellphone use, are important first steps. We also must continue to educate motorists about the dangers of driving under the influence of not just alcohol, but also recreational and prescription drugs.
“Auto safety is a top issue for auto insurers. We hope the dialogue on distracted and impaired driving will continue, and we urge lawmakers and other industry thought leaders to continue addressing the impact of motorist behavior as an important part of the safety equation,” added Passmore.
PCI’s Top 7 Driving Safety Tips:
Wear your seat belt. Whether you’re taking a weekend r get-away or just running errands around town, we encourage you to buckle up, drive safely and try to be prepared for those who may not. Seat belts save lives and help prevent injuries. Also, make sure kids are in the proper car or booster seats.
Plan ahead and allow extra travel time. With more people on the roads, often driving in unfamiliar territory, the potential for a traffic crash increases. We encourage motorists to plan their routes in advance when traveling to new destinations, be patient, and allow for extra travel time.
Observe speed limits, including lower speeds in work zones. Stay focused on the road and aware of changing traffic patterns caused by construction. Be cautious of the construction workers themselves, who are often in close proximity to the highway—and at great risk.
Avoid distracted driving. When the entire family is traveling in the car, the opportunity for distraction is multiplied. Remember to put the phone down, and never text while driving. Be careful when eating on the run, as lunch can be just as distracting as a cell phone. Buckle up or secure pets in the back of the car.
Have a plan for roadside assistance. If an accident occurs, be wary of unscrupulous towing companies. Have the phone number for your insurer or a roadside assistance program ready so you know who to call. Some towing companies take advantage of drivers after an accident, and you could find yourself facing excessive fees or complications recovering your car from the tow yard.
Update your proof of insurance. Before hitting the road, make sure to replace any expired insurance identification cards so you can prove you have insurance in the event of an accident or a traffic stop.
Be sure to follow us on social media @PCIAA and use #HeadsUp to find other important safety tips.