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Don't rely on the luck of the Irish: Tips for safer driving on St. Patrick's Day weekend

by jmaloni

Press release

Fri, Mar 15th 2013 03:00 pm

While several will take part in St. Patrick's Day festivities, many drivers will take their chances and put others at risk

Submitted by Allstate

Every year, we are reminded of the various dangers we can encounter on the road. And while drunk driving continues to cause damage, injury and death, one of the biggest causes of accidents is distracted driving. Everyone should have a great St. Patrick's Day this year - as long as they don't push their luck.

Several studies have shown that, in addition to the ongoing dangers of driving while drunk, several car crashes - and near-collisions - are caused by a mere lack of attention on the part of drivers. One of the biggest culprits is the widespread use of mobile devices, such as phones, portable music devices and tablets. However, even conscientious drivers who leave their phones aside while driving still get distracted by external objects beyond the road.

"Your car could have every possible safety feature, but the only way to guarantee your safety on the road is to pay full attention when you are behind the wheel," said Jaclyn Darrohn, Allstate spokesperson in New York. "Now that nearly everyone uses not just phones, but a variety of mobile devices, drivers are being distracted by more than just eating or checking the mirror. Besides making phone calls, they are typing text messages, checking email and, ironically, trying to program their GPS system while already on the road."

"The most conscientious drivers might not realize how much they put others at risk by performing even minor tasks while driving," she added.

In light of the St. Patrick's Day holiday and the beginning of spring - and more people getting out of the house and on the road - Allstate is using this opportunity to tell consumers to keep the following important safety tips in mind:

  • Get set while still. Make adjustments to vehicle controls - such as radios, climate control, or mirrors - before driving or once the car is not in motion.
  • Just drive and only drive. Don't reach down or behind the driver's seat, pick up items from the floor, open the glove compartment, or clean the inside windows while driving.
  • Leave enough time to get ready before you get behind the wheel. Mornings can be hectic, so allow extra time for personal preparation at home rather than in the car.
  • Plan your route before driving. If you're heading to a location for the first time and need directions, prepare your trip before hitting the road. Consult a map, memorize and print out directions, and program your GPS while your car is still in "park." Or, if you won't be traveling alone, have someone else read a map or directions.
  • Eye contact is impossible. It's not impossible to have a conversation with passengers while driving, but it is best to avoid very emotional conversations when behind the wheel. If it's necessary to give someone your undivided attention, pull over.
  • Hold all calls until your drive has stopped. If your phone rings and you know it's urgent, pull over to the side of the road before beginning a conversation or wait until you reach your destination.

But also keep in mind that with a new season of parties and gatherings coming up, distracted drivers might also be intoxicated drivers. Drunk driving is hardly a new phenomenon, but when compounded by the effects of today's new distractions, there is even more danger on the road than before.

"Especially, but not exclusively for St. Patrick's Day, be a little more aware of people who might not have taken the proper precautions," Darrohn said. "Do the right thing now so you'll be around for the next big party!"

The Allstate Corp. is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names.

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