by Stephen Dafoe
December 1 to 7 marks National Safe Driving Week and the Canada Safety Council (CSC) is pushing the message Distracted Driving Bites.
Although using one’s phone while driving catches the majority of distracted driving focus, the CSC says its but one example potentially fatal actions behind the wheel. They are drawing attention this week to eating behind the wheel.
“Distraction is distraction, no matter how you slice it,” said CSC President and CEO Gareth Jones in a media release Monday. “We all have a responsibility — to ourselves, to our loved ones and to our fellow road users — to remain vigilant at all times and stay focused on the task at hand.”
CSC urges all Canadians to give driving their full attention and avoid any activity that removes focus from the road, phone use, reprogramming the radio or GPS, grooming, eating and drinking, and even talking to other passengers.
“Distracted driving is an extremely risky behaviour, and the stakes are high – death, injury, property damage, and rising insurance premiums,” said Insurance Brokers Association of Canada CEO Peter Braid in the same release. “That’s why insurance brokers are partnering with the Canada Safety Council to raise awareness of the danger. The fries may smell great, but it’s not worth the risk. Resist the temptation and keep your eyes on the road.”
The CSC suggests some 70 per cent of all drivers eat behind the wheel and that the majority do not consider eating as distracted driving.
They offer the following distracted driving tips:
- Leave yourself extra time and eat before you leave or wait until after you arrive at your destination.Don’t keep food in your vehicle. It’s easy to avoid the temptation when it’s not within arm’s reach! Leave the granola bar or the candy bar at home. Alternatively, leave your snacks in the back seat or the trunk, out of reach from the driver seat, and pull over if you feel like you need to eat.
- Wait until you’re fully stopped — for example, at a red light — before taking a sip from your non-alcoholic drink. Do not drink alcohol behind the wheel.
- If you’re picking up fast food, resist the temptation to immediately dig in. Wait until you arrive to start eating.
- If you absolutely cannot wait to eat, park your car and enjoy your meal while immobile.
- No meal is worth endangering the lives of your fellow road users or your own. Act responsibly and help keep Canadian roads safe for everyone!