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Tips for the designated driver


Published: 09/25/2015

by Marcus Johnson

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 Driving has become second nature to many of us and many times we don't think twice about potential distractions. Cell phones are a major distraction and the fines are getting steeper to deter people from texting or making phone calls while driving. There are other distractions that you might not think of when in your car for long or even short distances.

The fines for distracted driving are now more than $500, but that's not the only cost.

According to Transport Canada, Alberta has the highest percentage of drivers using cell phones compared to other provinces. And the RCMP tells us that in 80 per cent of collisions, the driver took their eyes off the road for at least three seconds.

Blake Reichert, vice-president of the Prairie Region for Western Financial Group wants people to remember that distracted driving increases the risk of accidents, ranging from fender benders to more serious crashes. “When people drive distracted, they are increasing their risk,” says Reichert. “Simple decisions like putting your phone away when you are driving or pulling over to get some sleep can greatly reduce your risk of accidents and therefore reduce the need for claims.”

Here are some tips to ensure that you get to your destination safely:

Put your cell phone away: Using a phone takes the driver's eyes off the road. It can be tempting to check that text or email or answer the phone while you are driving so keep the phone out of sight and on silent.

Pull over: To avoid driving while distracted, you can simply pull over if it is safe to do so. If you are in the city, pulling into a parking lot to make a phone call, adjust your GPS, or use any other electronic device is a good practice.

Get some rest: If you have to head out for a long drive, make sure you get a good night's sleep beforehand. If you start to feel drowsy, pull over in a rest area and close your eyes until you feel more alert.

With all of the distractions in today's world and the multitude of devices available in cars, it can be hard to focus on just driving. But not doing so can cost you in fines, accident claims and other more serious outcomes. Take precautions to ensure that you are alert behind the wheel at all times.

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