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Distracted driving awareness month: Texting and driving isn’t just a problem for teens

in Health/Living

VOLVO CARS USA- When many drivers get in the car, the first thing they do is tuck their smartphones into the center console, ensuring they have easy access to them during their drive. They’re likely to glance at a text message that comes in while they’re driving or even check their email at a red light. It may seem harmless, but distracted driving is now an epidemic in the United States, with fatal accidents caused by distracted driving increasing by nearly  nine percent  in recent years.

Luckily, drivers realize there’s a problem. A study produced by Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll found that 55 percent of drivers believe distracted driving is the biggest danger on the road, ahead of speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Adults often lament that young drivers are distracted by their phones, but the study found that mature drivers are even more likely to be distracted behind the wheel, with millennials (25-34) and Gen Xers(35-45)more likely to use their phones than Gen Z(18-25) drivers. Surprisingly, parents with kids under 18 are the most likely to report using their phones while driving.

It turns out that older drivers can learn from their younger counterparts when it comes to reducing distraction behind the wheel. Here are four tips—inspired by digital natives—to help you unplug.

Most people are constantly connected to their devices, and the ping from a text message or email can be too tempting to resist, even when drivers know their safety is at risk. But technology can also be used to minimize distractions while driving. One of the simplest options is to turn your phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode while you drive, which many younger drivers already do. Nearly 60 percent of Gen Z drivers reported switching their phones to “Do Not Disturb” mode while driving, compared to just 38 percent of respondents overall. Some new phones make this even easier, with a feature that will automatically turn off notifications in a moving car.

Young adults may be constantly swiping, liking and posting on social media to their hearts’ content, but the study shows they’re actually more responsible than older adults when it comes to taking a break from social media while driving. Gen Z drivers are the least likely to check their emails or social media while behind the wheel, while Gen X drivers are the most likely to check social media.

To break the pull of social media in the car, disable notifications from Facebook, email and other social media platforms. Although you might feel cut off, you can easily deal with any news once you get to your destination.

Seventy-four percent say that would pay more for a vehicle with built-in features, such as voice control, to reduce distraction. Volvo Cars are equipped with  Sensus Connect  technology that seamlessly allows drivers to enable voice control that responds to your demands.

It’s important to make sure that you’re familiar with your car’s voice-control system. Spending time familiarizing yourself with your vehicle’s voice control before you depart can make it safe and easy to keep in touch with friends and loved ones while driving.

One-third of drivers polled reported that they like to drive in silence in order to minimize distractions, but for parents that’s often not an option. With children requesting music, snacks or help navigating sibling squabbles, it’s no wonder that parents are the most distracted drivers of all the adults polled.

Balancing the kids’ needs and giving attention to the road requires some planning. Before you depart, make sure the kids have water bottles and snacks. Keep items like tissues or wipes in an easy-to-reach place so kids can access them on their own.

Source: Volvo Cars USA

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