IBC: Canada Road Safety Week – Insurers offer tips for drivers

HALIFAX, NS, May 17 2011 – During Road Safety Week (May 16 to 23), Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds Canadians that distracted driving is about more than using hand-held devices.

“Distractions come in many forms and although putting down the cellphone when driving is a good first step, drivers are urged to limit all distractions. Eating behind the wheel, fiddling with the radio and reaching for a fallen object are just a few examples of distractions that are dangerous and avoidable,” said Bill Adams, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC.

“The danger is more than taking your hands off the wheel; the real danger is taking your attention away from the road and the cars around you,” added Adams.

Road Safety Week, occurring the week before the first long weekend of the summer season, is a good time for people to recognize that distractions come in many forms. With more people on the road at this time of year, it’s important to stay focused and attentive at all times.

“Studies show that 80% of collisions are the result of driver distraction,” said Adams. “Now is the perfect time to adopt strategies that help keep drivers and their families safe when on the road.”

To help drivers minimize distractions, IBC offers a helpful tip sheet on how to avoid being a distracted driver.

Tips for Avoiding Distractions While Driving

  1. Eat before driving so you won’t be tempted to juggle distracting snacks behind the wheel.
  2. Pull over and park before using a cellphone or other hand-held electronic device.
  3. Have a “driving” playlist on your MP3 player and start it before you set the car in motion. That way, you won’t be fumbling to find a good song while driving.
  4. If something falls, leave it. Never reach for an object while driving, unless it is impeding your ability to control the car; in that case, pull over and deal with it.
  5. Deal with predictable distractions before hitting the road. Check the map, adjust the seat, the climate control and the radio, and familiarize yourself with the dashboard controls before taking the car out of park.
  6. If you are driving with pets, make sure they are safely secured and in the back seat.
  7. Put aside enough time to complete your grooming before you set out, so you won’t have to apply makeup, comb your hair or shave while driving.
  8. Listen to your GPS device; don’t look at it.
  9. Make all necessary wardrobe changes before you enter the car.
  10. If a situation can’t wait – the kids are acting up in the back seat or you need to refer to a map or take an emergency call – pull over somewhere safe to deal with it.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 114,000 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $40 billion.

To view media releases and information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca.