Millions of Americans are expected to hit the roads this coming Fourth of July weekend, once again raising concerns that distractions can cause drivers to lose their concentration. Some industry specialists say that the presence of potential distractions inside the car can lead to serious car crashes. Worse, a recent research conducted by a leading insurance provider reveals a disturbing trend.
According to a recent survey by one of the nation’s top insurance companies, Nationwide Insurance, six out of ten drivers heading for the open roads this coming weekend expect to be available through their mobile phones and other electronic devices. This means that most motorists have to contend with answering calls and dealing with text messages while driving. The results came despite the half of the same respondents revealing past experiences with accidents or near-accidents caused by distracted drivers.
Bill Windsor, associate vice president of Safety at Nationwide Insurance, says that with the sudden increase of drivers on the nation’s highways, motorists usually pay attention to other things and lose focus on their driving. He also explains that while most Americans believe they are safe drivers, they also admit to driving distracted. Motorists also have the general perception that they have to respond immediately to calls and text messages, further adding to the risk of driving while distracted.
The same survey also revealed some surprising activities drivers engage in while driving. These include tinkering with GPS systems, eating meals, dealing with rowdy children, changing clothes, balancing checkbooks, and believe it or not, even shaving.
Windsor says drivers who get distracted even for just a few seconds, can put their lives and that of their passengers at risk. Losing concentration at 60 miles per hour with dozens of cars whizzing by can have a potentially tragic consequence. The National Highway Traffic Administration says that 80 percent of all recorded car crashes in the U.S. are caused by distracted drivers.
To help minimize and prevent accidents caused by distracted drivers, Nationwide has teamed up with the National Safety Council’s ad campaign. Car insurance companies are also warning drivers about the hazards of using cell phones and have offered some suggestions for this Fourth of July weekend.
For starters, companies recommend defensive driving attitude to make motorists aware of their immediate surroundings. Drivers should also check and adjust all mirrors and climate control before heading out. And lastly, insurance providers say that drivers should avoid speeding to prevent losing precious reaction time.