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Staying safe on the road this summer

Staying safe on the road this summer

Mobile phone apps are the biggest distraction for drivers, new data from the TAC finds.

Mobile phones are a key part of caravanning and road trips, with apps playing a crucial role in creating the perfect soundtrack and setting the right course.

But new data from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) shows that apps are also the biggest distraction for people who dangerously use their mobile phone while driving. The TAC’s latest Road Safety Monitor report has found that more than half of Victorian road users (52 per cent) have used a mobile phone in their hands while driving and, of those people, 45 per cent were interacting with an app.

Apps aren’t the only distraction, with 26 per cent of people saying that they had made or received calls while holding their phones, and 25 per cent admitting to sending or reading a text message while driving.

TAC CEO Tracey Slatter says that for people who are on long-haul journeys and road trips, technology and smartphones are often important for staying connected.

‘Technology is a really important way for us to connect with our family and friends, and share our experiences and news while we are on holidays,’ Slatter says. ‘Navigation apps are also a really important part of a trip, along with audio apps for everyone in the vehicle.

‘But our message is that safety must be front of mind and the number-one priority. Try to plan your journey ahead of time and, if you miss a turn, pull over when it’s safe to do so to check the map. There is no text message, phone call or app that is worth risking your life or someone else’s.’

Driving while distracted is a major factor in road trauma and increases the chances of a crash. Slatter says that the risk of driving while distracted is indisputable.

‘Our smartphones and apps are designed to keep us engaged and immersed in the screen – a dangerous combination to mix with driving,’ Slatter says. ‘Research shows taking your eyes off the road for two seconds or more doubles your crash risk when driving at 50 kilometres per hour.

‘Driving is a task that requires our full attention, and if you’re looking at your phone while behind the wheel, you’re essentially driving blind.

‘We’ve seen a devastating increase in the number of people killed on our roads so far this year, and each one of those deaths was avoidable. We need people to put the phone away and play their part in making our roads safer.

‘The impacts and ripple effects caused by road trauma are wide reaching. We know that the lives of families, friends, workplaces and communities are forever changed when someone is killed or seriously injured on the roads.’

This is just a sneak peek! For safe driving tips, check out the Summer Edition of Caravanning Australia.

Image courtesy of iStock

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