Statistically speaking, people with disabilities are some of the safest drivers on the road. Living with disability can make you more aware of taking risks and therefore the dangers of distracted driving. Nevertheless, distracted driving statistics for Australia are worthy of every driver’s and passenger’s attention.
Anyone can become distracted while on the road. The best tool kit for avoiding this is mental anticipation and thoughtful planning. In this article we outline five simple ways to avoid unnecessary distractions while driving. These tips can help you stay safer, whether you’re at the wheel or not.
Distracted driving statistics for Australia
Getting distracted while driving is obviously far more dangerous than getting distracted while reading a magazine or working at your laptop. But similarly, being motivated to complete our goal successfully can help us avoid distraction.
Here are some key facts and figures, that, while sad, are important motivating factors for avoiding distracted driving.
🚑 Road death toll on the rise
More than 1,000 people lost their lives in Australia between January 2021 and 2022. We’re seeing an increase of 2% on the year before that. It’s likely that deliberately avoiding distracted driving could have saved many of the lost lives.
🚑 Driver profile for serious crash injuries
In Australia, men between 40-59 years old account for the highest number of crash hospitalisations. Considering these are very likely skilled drivers with years of practice, the statistics suggest many are risk related accidents.
🚑 Distracted driving risk timeframe
It only takes two seconds of distracted driving for something to go wrong. Yet, the consequences of distracted driving could last a lifetime, or even be the difference between life and death.
How to reduce distractions while driving
If you’ve recently completed a fitness to drive assessment because you’re using new driving modifications, these next five tips are great safety reminders. So too are they important reminders for any motorist, no matter how experienced or how familiar with their car.
As we know, anyone can be distracted. Whether or not your car and modifications are new and whether or not you’re new behind the wheel, here are five ways to avoid distracted driving:
1. Leave your mobile phone alone (it can wait)
We’ve come to depend on mobile phones for far more than conversation. Many of us rely on smartphone accessibility features and health and safety apps to successfully navigate each day. But despite phones being integral to our daily living, they’re a top reason for distracted driving.
The statistics prove it. Using a mobile phone at the wheel can increase your chance of car crash by nearly 13 times. That’s serious! Why do it? Why even think about doing it – clearly it’s not worth it.
It’s fine to miss a call or a message. It’s not fine to miss a red light. If you really need to use your phone, find somewhere safe to pull over. In case you’re wondering, the same can be said for doing makeup while driving (you wouldn’t – would you?).
2. Passengers can cause distracted driving
Driving with passengers or being a passenger is reason to be aware of distractions for driving. Talking and listening to passengers uses your senses and concentration, and so does driving – but driving should be your focus!
Road Safety Education statistics show that new drivers with two or more passengers are two times more at risk of a serious crash. This is also an important figure to remind us not to be backseat drivers.
If you drive with a pet or Assistance Dog in your car, be aware they’re passengers too. They can also cause distracted driving. Take note of the rules of the road for pets in cars.
Seriously consider getting a pet insurance or Assistance Dogs insurance plan. Then if you have a road incident your plan can help cover medical costs for your fur companion’s injuries, like vet treatment, surgery, medicine and hospitalisation.
#3. Music is not as important as the sounds of traffic
Like friends, pets and family in the car, music also uses our senses. That means music can also cause distracted driving. Music can make driving a wonderful and memorable experience, but take care to keep the volume at a realistic level so sounds around you are prioritised.
Plan your playlist well before you drive. Set your levels and any other settings before you start driving. Once you’re on the road, you shouldn’t be toggling controls because it will cause distracted driving. As fun as music can be, changing a tune or the volume uses the same resources (mental and physical) as steering or braking.
#4. Eat before your drive, not during!
If you’re hypoglycemic or diabetic, you’ll know how important eating is when you need to. But, even if you’re taxed for time and no matter how hungry you are, please eat before you drive. Or take a break and stop somewhere safe.
In Australia it’s not illegal to eat and drive, but it can be if it leads to distracted driving. Read ‘is it illegal to eat while driving?’ to see what type of dangers lurk when combining dining and driving.
Read about driving with diabetes and if you’re doing this remember to get your eyes tested regularly too. Not being able to see well when on the road is definitely going to cause distracted driving!
#5. Anticipate and manage external distractions
External stimuli are important to notice behind the wheel. Steel yourself to remain focused while doing so and let what’s happening outside inform your drive rather than distract it. Thankfully many modern cars now have pedestrian and cyclist safety warnings along with other automatic safety technology.
But ultimately, as the driver, it’s you who needs to be in control. Whether you drive a wheelchair accessible vehicle, converted car or other- stay focused. Be aware of distracted driving statistics in Australia to remind yourself to be sharp every time you get behind the controls.
And because distracted driving is still possible despite this, be sure you have car insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and disability converted cars to cover you while on the road (and off). With a disability parking permit you get up to 25% off disability car insurance with Blue Badge Insurance.
Find out more by clicking below to get your quote.