Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is urging motorists to focus on safety during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which runs throughout April.
“Driving any vehicle always requires a lot of concentration, whether you’re a novice or highly experienced on the road,” Causey said. “I’m asking every driver to focus on the road and not let distractions break their concentration from safely getting to their destinations.”
April has been proclaimed Distracted Driving Awareness Month across the United States.
Causey joins the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and safety advocates across the nation in raising the awareness of the dangers of distracted driving.
Distracting driving can cause a driver to veer off the road or hit another car, resulting in property damage, personal injury and loss of life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving killed 3,142 people in 2020, and about eight people are killed every day in crashes that involve a distracted driver.
In addition, distracted driving puts pressure on insurance companies to raise automobile insurance rates due to the number of claims filed as a result of accidents.
Sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s akin to driving the length of an entire football field — blindfolded.
There are many forms of distracted driving – talking or texting on a cell phone, eating or drinking coffee, putting on makeup, setting the navigation system, changing the radio station or tending to a child in the car. Distracted motorists put others at a higher risk by not maintaining their concentration.
Causey offers the following tips to help drivers avoid the pitfalls of distracted driving:
♦ If you really need to send a text or email, pull off the road and safely park before sending any message.
♦ Those who wish to be available can select a passenger as a “designated texter” to send and receive texts for you. It is important to do this even while stopped at a light or light as situations on the road can change rapidly.
♦ Set your navigation systems or radio stations before you start driving.
♦ Don’t scroll through apps, websites or social media while driving. If you feel tempted, you can turn your phone off, set it to airplane mode, or put it in the glove box, back seat or trunk.
♦ Ask someone in the car to tend to the needs of children if necessary.