Distracted driving has been on the rise over the last few years and has become one of the contributing factors of the rise in insurance rates in Canada. Though it sounds easy to avoid, distracted driving contributed to about 21% of fatal collisions and 27% of serious injury collisions in 2016, according to Transport Canada’s National Collision Database. Because of this, the government of Ontario launched a law in January 2019, to minimize distracted driving with fines of up to $1,000 for first-time offenders. What constitutes as distracted driving and what can you do to minimize your chances of getting fined?

1. Visual Distractions

Looking at something other than the road is one of the most easily avoidable actions. Although we’re taught this in driving school and need to prove it during our driving examinations, many of us still allow our attention to be divided. This type of distraction is typically applied when looking at our phones, GPS, or not properly checking our blind spots. With the rise of social media, we are constantly receiving notifications on our phones, so it can be easy to think that checking them is harmless.

2. Auditory Distractions

Being alert on the road goes beyond just visual awareness. Auditory distractions can include loud music, driving with headphones and even talking on the phone handsfree. It can hinder the driver from paying attention to the ambulance or police sirens and car horns. While playing your favourite music while driving can make the drive much more enjoyable, be sure to keep the volume at a reasonable level to avoid any collisions.

3. Manual Distractions

Manual distractions occur when you are manipulating something other than the steering wheel. They’re probably the most common and also the leading causes of accidents. Most of us believe we’ll be in control of the steering wheel if we’re only using one hand, so holding a phone, sandwich, cigarette or even putting makeup on using the other hand doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, manual distractions can decrease your visual, cognitive and authority awareness of the road and can risk your safety and the safety of others on the road. According to CAA, if a driver texts, they’re 23 times more like to be involved in a crash or near collision.

4. Cognitive Distractions

With all of these types of driving, the biggest distraction can actually be our own thoughts. Though we can appear to be applying all the correct actions, if we’re not focused on the road, we still increase our risk of getting into an accident. This is why it’s not advised to drive under intense emotions such as anger or sadness. Anger can lead to impatience and reckless driving on the road, while extreme sadness can limit how much we see on the road. Furthermore, driving fatigued can have an even worse effect than driving under the influence, so it is crucial to be well-rested before driving. It was found that fatigue is the leading cause of driver fatalities after impairing substances and speeding.

How To Avoid Distracted Driving

Now that you’re aware of the different distractions that can lead to collisions, you can minimize the risk of getting into an accident by avoiding these distractions while on the road. Be mindful of the potential distractions while on the road and be sure to stay alert at all times, particularly during the wintertime.

Protect yourself with auto insurance by discovering our insurance policy options. Contact us today to learn about which policy will best fit your needs. Our team is always happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have!