Grab your keys, open the car door, slide in, close the door, buckle your seat belt, start the car, shift gears, step on the gas and hit the highway. Sound familiar? If you are one of the America’s 128.3 million commuters, it should.
Whether you’re a regular road warrior or just a casual driver, developing and maintaining safe driving habits are essential to accident prevention. Human error accounts for more than 90 percent of all crashes.
The good news is that there is no shortage of information and initiatives to help you become a better performer behind the wheel.
Here are selected road reminders from OII members to keep you (and your vehicle) moving in the right direction.
Central Insurance Companies Calls Out Distractions
April is designated “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” for a reason, as Central Insurance Companies (@Central_Ins) explains. You witness distracted driving most every day—from cell phone abusers to any other variety of activities that divert attention from the road ahead.
These kinds of activities can be incredibly dangerous, particularly for inexperienced drivers. 10 percent of all fatal crashes involving drivers under age 20 are linked to distracted driving, according to the US government website distraction.gov. As noted on its online factsheet, one out every four teens admit to responding to at least one text every time they get behind the wheel.
Preventing most of these types of accidents is doable. Drivers of all ages are urged to keep their eyes on the road and off of electronics, and avoid grabbing a snack or other distractive behaviors that can lead to unsafe driving practices.
See Central’s post, “Driving Home the Message on Distracted Driving,” for more distracted driving factoids.
Erie Insurance Tests Smartphone Apps to Improve Driving Habits
Central Insurance Companies is not alone in its concern over distracted driving. Upon noting and analyzing the risks of common distractions, Erie Insurance (@erie_insurance) teamed up with bloggers to put several smartphone apps aimed at increasing focus to the test.
While smartphone usage behind the wheel is discouraged, it triggered a thought. Instead of being an accident catalyst, what if smartphones could be used to help prevent wrecks from even occurring?
Erie and the bloggers tested apps whose features are aimed at accident prevention and distracted driving awareness. Their intention was to road test selected apps to see if they actually helped drivers make safer choices. Here are just some of the apps they evaluated:
- Real-time coaching regarding excessive speed and failure to stop
- Driver monitoring and real-time alerts that notify parents when their teens are texting, talking, speeding or engaging in social media while driving
- Hands-free voice control to talk, text, tweet, post to Facebook, listen to music, etc.
Learn what Erie and their bloggers discovered during app testing in the post, “Can Smartphones Reduce Distracted Driving?”
State Farm Talks Kids, Cars and Rising Temperatures
- Never leave children unattended in a car, regardless of weather conditions
- Keep non-moving vehicles locked to prevent kids from climbing inside
To prevent the potential for heat stroke, pay careful attention to how warm your car becomes when parked in the sun and its potential impact on passengers.
For more tips to keep your kids safe in cars this summer, see State Farm’s post, “Protect Your Kids from Hot Cars.”
Cincinnati Insurance Companies Warns of Possible Ride-Sharing Risks
Ride-sharing services are rolling out in cities across the country including the Ohio cities of Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. It’s a “greener” way of taking passengers from point A to point B, using app notification. Cincinnati Insurance Companies warns potential ride-sharing drivers and riders to exercise caution when it comes to these services. The company advises:
- Check with your insurer before driving your personal vehicle for a ride-sharing service. This will help you better understand the true scope of liability you may be undertaking, as well as how your personal auto insurance coverage applies and does not apply.
- Potential riders should ask insurers if/how they are covered for medical expenses should they be injured as a passenger in a ride-share service vehicle.
See the blog post “Ride-sharing: Question coverage before jumping“ for more of Cincinnati Insurance’s views on ride-share risks and rewards.
Nationwide Explores Top Tech for 2014 Vehicles
As discussed at last month’s blog post on OII’s Insurance Education Day conference, technological advancements, particularly in the realm of vehicle technology and accident prevention, is all the rage.
- Driving assist
- Blind spot eliminator
- Remote car starter and locator
- LED road flares
High-tech car gadgetry is featured in Nationwide’s post, “Must Have Car Gadgets for 2014.”
Posted: May 6, 2014