When it comes to safety on our roads, it's not just your own driving that you need to pay attention to, but also the actions of other people behind the wheel.
Defensive driving is an important part of keeping our roads and streets safe for the mix of people using them, in vehicles, on bicycles, or on foot.
All drivers need to reduce distractions, which according to police statistics are the leading cause of car crash fatalities in the province.
As technology advances, it makes our lives more convenient, but it can also influence the types of safety concerns we face on the roads. A recent survey from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) shows the increasingly popular voice-controlled in-vehicle technologies can present an issue on the roads for some drivers. The good news is it doesn't have to be that way if we use them responsibly.
These systems are incredibly convenient, allowing drivers to do everything from dictate text messages to control the temperature using voice commands. "Drivers are starting to realize that you can be distracted even if your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road," CAA's vice president of public affairs Jeff Walker stated recently.
"We all need to be cautious in using these new in-vehicle technologies."
Voice-control software can distract drivers from focusing on the road, even if physically they are doing what they should. That of course includes using hands-free devices to talk on cellphones.
ICBC reminds us that drivers are able to use hand-free devices, unless they are in the Graduated Licensing Program, but some restrictions apply. If you don't have a Bluetooth device or wireless headset you can use the speakerphone, according to ICBC. However, the phone has to be securely attached to either you or the car. That means it can't be in your lap or loose on the seat beside you.
One of the main distractions that alarm drivers is texting behind the wheel, which is, as we all know, illegal. It captured the top position in the CAA survey for the third-straight year, surpassing drinking and driving.
CAA Drivers' Survey
Top 10 Concerns
1. Texting or emailing while driving.
2. Drinking and driving.
3. Drivers running red lights.
4. Speeding on residential streets.
5. Driving aggressively.
6. Sleepy/drowsy drivers.
7. Driving after using illegal drugs.
8. Talking on cellphones while driving.
9. Driving well over the speed limit.
10. Talking to or engaging with their in-car systems.