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'Do it all before you drive': Tips to avoid being distracted behind the wheel

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Almost everyone is guilty of distracted driving at one point and time, but according to a report from Transport Canada using their most recent data from 2021, 25 per cent of fatal crashes involve speeding, while another 20 per cent involve distracted driving.

With numbers that high, it’s safe to say distracted drivers can be a danger to the rest of the road. Julia Kent with CAA Atlantic says part of the danger is how quickly anyone can become distracted.

“We are programmed to want to do a bunch of things at the same time, but evidence shows we aren’t very good at it, so for example just picking up your phone and reading a text can take up to five seconds that takes your attention away from the road and away from your surroundings while you’re behind the wheel,” Kent told CTV’s Crystal Garrett in an interview Thursday.

“Picking up a phone is considered distracted driving because even if you aren’t sending a text but you’re reading a text or looking at your phone, that’s taking away from the road.”

Kent says one of the steps people can take to stop themselves from possible distraction is preparing for the road.

“What we tell everyone is prepare everything you need before you head out on your road trip. So set up your podcast, make sure your Bluetooth is properly connected, make sure your kids have everything they need in the back seat, make sure your pet is attended to, all of these things” said Kent.

“Do it all before you drive.”

According to the CAA website, 90 per cent of drivers get involved with technology built into their cars, which is an issue that continues to grow as cars continue to evolve.

“It’s not just the phone anymore, or the kids in the back seat, or what have you. It is all of these features on these newer vehicles, really we’re dealing with giant computers, that’s what our cars are now. They have the ability to do all kinds of things like drive themselves, and watch Netflix and the like,” said Kent.

“Really being aware of when your attention is not solely focused on the road and your surroundings while you’re driving is the key, and once you’re aware of it you’ll be able to make little changes to your behavior and become safer behind the wheel.”

Another tip Kent warns of is securing your belongings, as any item in the vehicle can be a projectile and could hit or distract the driver, or even worse could cause injury in the event of a crash.

“We recommend putting everything in the trunk, even your phone,” said Kent.

More tips on being a safer drive are available on the CAA website.

With files from CTV's Crystal Garrett

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