Once smartphones arrived on the scene, it wasn’t long before drivers started using them while behind the wheel. Making calls, sending texts, and even browsing social media while driving can lead to distraction – which ultimately can cause accidents.

The Canadian Automobile Association reports that a whopping 96 per cent of Canadians believe those who text and drive are a safety hazard while on the road – and for good reason. Drivers engaged in visual distractions are eight times more likely to be involved in a crash, and 27 per cent of fatal crashes in Canada in 2016 were due to distracted driving.

With smartphones constantly buzzing and flashing, staying off your phone while behind the wheel can be quite difficult. Once you hear a ring or buzz, you may feel tempted to reach for your phone, pulling your eyes from the road ahead. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid smartphone distractions and keep yourself – and others – safe while on the road. Here are a few tips to try:

  1. Use the “Silent” Setting

Turning your phone on silent stops those distracting buzzes from disrupting your concentration. Simply switch your phone to the silent setting once embarking on a drive, or even turn your phone off to avoid distractions entirely.

  1. Store Your Phone in an Out-of-Reach Place

Put your phone in a place where you can’t reach it, such as in the trunk or glove box. This will eliminate the temptation to check notifications.

  1. Try a Bluetooth Headset

Many phones are compatible with Bluetooth headsets, allowing you to make calls and texts without using your hands. Plus, some vehicles have Bluetooth connectivity, which enables you to receive messages and calls without reaching for your device.

  1. Download a Safe Driving App

Several apps are available to prevent distracted driving, including TextArrest, Canary and CellControl. These apps can prevent drivers from texting while on the road, and some even offer special features like emergency assistance and location tracking. Visit the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to see what options are available for your device.

  1. Utilize Virtual Assistants

Most smartphones now have virtual assistants, including Siri, Google Assistant and Cortana. These assistants can make calls and send texts on your behalf, creating hands-free interactions.

When preventing texting while driving, the most important task is finding the technique that works for you. The next time you take to the road, try these tips to keep yourself and others safe.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident or have questions about personal injury, contact Dick Byl Law at 250-564-3400