Just when you thought it was safe to get back on the road, Park Insurance is here with yet another set of driver distractions that you need to be aware of.
We know, you didn’t think it was possible given that we’ve delivered a comprehensive accounting of common driver diversions, along with this other popular list of unanticipated distractions. But bad driving habits never cease to rear their head, and with the provincial government’s new set of changes to ICBC that will have violators pay more for insurance we thought it a good idea to dig even deeper. With this list, we touch on things you may not have considered as culprits which can lead you to take your eyes off the road. Read below, and take note so that moving ahead you keep safe and avoid paying more on automobile insurance premiums.
5 Not-So-Obvious But Dangerous Driver Distractions That You Need to Avoid
1. Admiring the Scenery
BC residents can’t help but be guilty of this one from time to time, given the bounty of beauty along our provincial roads and highways. However, save your admiration for the mountainous and waterway scenery surrounding the Sea-to-Sky, Coquihalla, and I-5 (etc.) for pitstops because it takes your eyes of the road. While this may seem a bit extreme, take note that in a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “admiring the scenery” was named among the most common causes of car accidents.
2. Pets in the Car
You know how distracting it can be to have kids and other restless passengers in the car, but at least you can instruct them to leave you alone while you focus on the road. Pets however, are a different story. An unrestrained dog, cat, or other animal can pose a significant threat to your ability to focus on the road. They may move about the cabin, make noise (bark, meow, etc.) and lose control of their bodily fluids or worse. All of the above can provide a significant distraction and lead to an accident, which is why ICBC has asked that you restrain your pets when operating a vehicle, providing instructions on harnesses, crates, and carriers. If you really want to play it safe, leave Fido and Socks at home while you run your errands even if they tend to wreak havoc in the home. A soiled sofa is preferable to a mangled fender, just be sure to check your water faucets beforehand.
3. The Cops
Do you find yourself obsessing over whether or not highway patrol is hiding around the bend with a radar gun locked and loaded? Are you watching oncoming traffic for flashing headlights, the unofficial “heads up” that a cop is around the corner? Given BC’s crackdown on speeding and other violations it’s a fair concern. However, it’s not one that you should allow you to divert your eyes away from where they should be, as you scan the far perimeter for police cars/motorcycles that are tucked behind bushes and roadside barriers. Instead, stay within the speed limit and you’ll never have to worry about this threat to your driving record (and insurance premiums) ever again.
4. Putting on Glasses/Sunglasses
Do you find yourself scrambling to dig out your glasses when approaching the Massey Tunnel (Vancouver drivers) or other covered passage? Are you unsheathing your designer shades while driving as the sun comes down on the Lower Mainland horizon? These activities are akin to texting or putting on makeup while driving, after all you’re blocking your view for a split second, which is all that it takes to get into a motor vehicle accident.
From now on, when you anticipate that you’ll be driving on a road that at some point requires glasses or sunglasses, wear them from the beginning (when it does not interfere with your vision) or pull over at a safe rest stop to put them on. In addition, make sure that your sunglass lenses, be they prescription or for general function, are not excessively tinted so as to disrupt clarity. On that latter note, be sure to clean your lenses before you head out on the road.
5. Interior Accessories
Car interior accessories are very popular in the Lower Mainland. Drivers are putting stuffed animals on the front and rear dash, slapping large stickers on the windows, and even installing unnecessary ambient lighting and placing portable speakers on the mantles of their vehicles. All of these things can distract your driving and prevent you from seeing everything on the road in front of and behind your car. Even hanging an air freshener can block your vision. Save the accessories for your living space and when installing air fresheners, place them where they do not impact your vision. Also, test your reaction to air fresheners in a room before placing them in your car, as studies show that they can unexpectedly trigger allergy symptoms which can result in a distraction (sneezing, coughing, etc.) that can have you drive off of the road.
With all of these driving distractions to be aware of, you don’t want to add stress surrounding automobile insurance concerns to the mix. Nip this one in the bud by contacting an independent insurance broker right away so that you receive the best possible coverage.