AAA Texas warns drivers: hands-free isn’t risk free
SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – More than 97,000 crashes in Texas last year were caused by distracted driving and TxDOT reports 378 of those collisions resulted in death.
October is National Distracted Driving Awareness month, and AAA Texas is running a campaign with the message,”Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.”
“There is no text message worth reading or sending when injuring or killing someone is the potential cost,”said AAA Texas Spokesman Daniel Armbruster.
Texting, as well as reading or writing an email, is against the law while driving in Texas, but distractions include more than texting. Anything that diverts attention from driving – eating and drinking, adjusting the navigation, or picking your next podcast, talking to other passengers, or talking or texting on the phone—can result in a fatal injury.
Armbruster also warns that hands-free is not risk-free. Even with your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, you are not safe unless your mind focuses on the drive.
“Looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash,” said Armbruster.
Here are AAA Texas’ Top Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving:
- Prepare for your drive. Set vehicle systems like GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time. And finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
- Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated. The consequences of alcohol-impaired driving and texting while driving could be the same: Put aside electronic distractions and never use text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features.
- Stay focused. Do not let anything divert your attention. Be sure to actively scan the road, use your mirrors, and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. If you have passengers, enlist their help as a “designated texter.” Ask them to answer your calls, respond to texts and program the navigation.