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Technology in the car: beware of the unnecessary risks!

Published on May 17, 2017

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Do you ever use an electronic device while you’re driving? If so, you’re taking some risks that could have some serious repercussions. Here are some examples of such habits that may seem harmless: Looking for a radio station on your touch screen, choosing a film for the kids to watch or sending a text message or email. The L'Unique General Insurance team is here to debunk a few myths for you on the subject!

Myth No. 1: Using my phone and other devices while driving is safe.
Reality:

  • According to the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), you're not focused 100% on the road when you're fiddling with your electronic devices. It affects:
    • Your field of vision
    • Your analytical skills
    • Your ability to react to any danger on the road
    • Your ability to perform basic manoeuvres such as staying in your lane, driving straight or keeping a reasonable distance between your car and the one in front of you
  • 80% of automobile collisions occur after only 3 seconds of inattention. Maybe you think reading a text message taxes just a fraction of a second, but in fact it requires 4 to 6 seconds of your attention.
  • According to a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study, the risk of an accident is 23 times greater if you text and drive.
  • Several devices authorized by law for use while driving such as the GPS and dashboard can also become a source of distraction.
  • Some studies show that radio shows that trigger emotional reactions reduce the driver’s focus. A great example of this is call-in shows. So be more selective with what you listen to when driving!
  • Your auto insurance premium calculation takes into account the accidents that occurred in the last 5 years. By avoiding distractions that cause accidents, you’re also reducing the chances of a premium increase.

Myth No. 2: Hands-free mode is a safe solution.
Reality:

When you’re on the phone while driving, you’re not focused entirely on the road. Using hands-free devices is allowed, but the SAAQ advises against it. To make a call safely, you should park first in an appropriate location.

Myths No. 3: I can hold my mobile device while driving if I’m not using it. I can even use it if I’m stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic.
Reality:

The law forbids holding and using a mobile device when on public roads, whether the vehicle is moving or stopped. If you break this law, you could be fined between $300 and $600, have your driver’s licence suspended for 3 to 30 days and receive 5 demerit points.

Lastly, here are a few tips to help you fight the urge of using devices in your car:

  • Turn off your phone before you get behind the wheel
  • Ask one of your passengers to handle calls and text messages
  • Install the SAAQ’s Focus Mode app. You won’t receive calls or text messages when driving

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Feel free to contact him or her!