February 4, 2017
Winter is already a treacherous time on the road, with snowstorms leading to narrower roads, black ice making streets slick and additional blind spots developing on your fogged up windows. Each year, 800 people die in winter-related motor vehicle crashes due to snow, sleet and freezing rain. Throw in distracted drivers on top of that, and you have a dangerous and deadly cocktail of bad driving behavior and road conditions.
Winter driving requires a higher level of focus and concentration that isn’t always needed on dry roads. Here’s a deeper look into the distracted driving epidemic and the technology that is available now to stop it.
The Distracted Driving Epidemic
Between text messages, social media, email and apps, people are more distracted while driving than ever and statistics show that over nine people die each day due to inattentive driving, and that number is likely to increase during the winter months. Currently, one out of every four accidents involve a cell phone and over 61 percent of drivers admit to using their phones on some or most drives in the past 30 days.
Another concerning stat is that Americans spend .4 miles distracted on the phone out of every 11 miles driven, it seems that we can’t rely on drivers to improve themselves. Fortunately, there is technology available that will help.
Mobile Apps To The Rescue
While phone manufacturers do have the technology available to prohibit phone use behind the wheel, they aren’t using it to its fullest potential. Fortunately, there are now many mobile apps available that improve drivers’ skills and encourage safe driving. Mobile apps like Live2Txt block all incoming calls and messages while a user is driving and then sends notifications to those who message the user to let them know he or she is unavailable.
For the near 50 percent of drivers that say “no thanks” to a total block of communication, there are other mobile apps available that encourage safe driving. EverDrive is based on the DriveWell platform and measures a driver’s skills on the road and provides them with an overall score based on braking, speeding, acceleration, cornering, and phone distraction. Drivers can compete with friends, earn badges and receive suggestions for areas of improvement, as well as tips for a better score.
Mobile apps are ideal for drivers who want to test their skills and measure how safe they are on the road. While many drivers may not want the hassle of plugging a device into their car, there are in-vehicle gadgets that will help prevent and stop distracted driving.
Gadgets For Safe Driving
One device called Groove plugs in underneath your steering wheel and works directly through your mobile carrier and connects your mobile phone to the cloud. Texts, calls, and social media notifications are all blocked while you are driving and the device sends a notification to in coming communication and lets them know you are unavailable. Drivers are still able to use GPS or navigation services or stream music.
Seeing Machines Driver Monitoring System can detect whether a driver is distracted or not by monitoring their gaze through a small infrared camera that is mounted on the dashboard. The system can even track your eyes with sunglasses and the company is currently working with General Motors, Takata, and other car manufacturers.
This winter, use technology that will help you stay safe out on the roads and reduce distracted driving for the sake of your life and the safety of others. Together, we can lower the number of accidents and fatalities that occur on the roads.
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