CHICAGO—It’s the time of year when many of us are in a hurry —to the mall, to the grocery store, to gatherings of family and friends. Unfortunately, whether we’re driving or walking to any of those destinations, we’re often distracted, which puts everyone on the road at risk.
The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes across the country in 2016. These are some of the most dramatic auto crash fatality statistics in 50 years. Distracted driving—and the ubiquitous use of smartphones behind the wheel—is widely believed to be one of the leading causes for the rise in vehicle crashes nationwide, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
Americans know that distracted driving is dangerous. In fact, in a new survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of PCI, distracted driving topped the list as the number one perceived contributor (92%) to the increase in auto accidents across the country.
“Even though we’re aware of the dangers, our smartphones are still monopolizing too much of our time on the road.,” said Bob Passmore, assistant vice president of personal lines policy at PCI. “It’s all around us, everywhere you look people are texting, talking, surfing the web, and scrolling through social media on their smartphones while driving or walking.”
Keeping auto safety in mind—and avoiding distracted driving—can help reduce auto accidents during the holidays. “The hustle and bustle on the roads, on sidewalks, and in parking lots at this time of year create more risks for accidents,” said Passmore. “Whether you’re running errands locally or taking a holiday road trip, it’s important to take a few extra seconds to send any last-minute messages or check apps, and then put your phone down and collect your thoughts before you start driving. If your device has a “do not disturb while driving” function, use it. Eliminating distractions, focusing on the road, and staying alert to driving conditions and other cars and pedestrians truly can prevent accidents.”
Simple modifications to driver behaviors can prevent auto accidents and save lives. PCI offers the following tips for safe driving during the holidays.
PCI’s 8 Holiday Driving Tips: