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BCAA survey shows drivers confuse distractions with multitasking

The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) reported the findings of a distracted driving survey. Analysis of the survey indicated British Columbia drivers agree that it is dangerous to use a cellphone while driving. However, they fail to recognize the danger caused by many of the other activities that distract them. 

Reportedly, over 25% of all fatal car accidents in British Columbia are linked to distractions, putting it second on the list of causes of road accident deaths. Participants in the survey admitted to doing various other things while driving. However, many failed to see the danger in what they do. They call it multitasking instead of being distracted. 

The following are some of the things drivers believe fall in the multitasking category: 

  • Adjusting the vehicle’s climate control 
  • Interacting with passengers 
  • Eating and drinking 
  • Scanning for street names and numbers 
  • Checking their phones while waiting at red lights 
  • Enjoying the scenery and reading billboards 

Many of them seemed proud of their multitasking abilities to manage to do several of these at once while driving. 

Tips to avoid distractions while driving

The director of the BCAA recommends drivers be proactive and take the following precautions to eliminate distractions: 

  • Pre-record an “I’m driving” message on the cellphone and put it out of sight – and reach 
  • Delegate all non-driving activities to a passenger, such as climate and stereo adjustments 
  • Avoid engaging or absorbing conversations that take eyes and mind off the road 
  • Plan ahead and prepare by looking up directions and addresses, and set a playlist 
  • Eat before departure and plan a stop along the way to eat and refresh 
  • Set children up with entertainment 
  • Harness the dog 

Taking care of all these things before the drive will eliminate distractions and limit crash risks. However, chances of crossing paths of another distracted driver are still significant. The situation could become even more complicated when injured victims are British Columbia residents on trips south of the border. When that happens, the laws and insurance regulations of both countries come into play.