Latest News > Technology is a tool, not the focus while driving
National Safe Driving Week | December 1 – 7, 2022
You’re driving in an unfamiliar area and don’t fully trust you’ll be able to find your destination. You open your navigation app, type in the address, and begin following the directions. You’re so focused on not missing a turn, in fact, that your attention slips for just a moment. And when you look back up, you find yourself closing the distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead far too quickly.
Navigation technology can be a useful tool in a driver’s arsenal. It is important to remember, however, it is indeed a tool and not your focus as a driver.
As part of National Safe Driving Week, which runs December 1 – 7, 2022, the Canada Safety Council, the Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan (IBAS), and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) are reminding motorists in the province to make sure safety is the top priority when getting behind the wheel.
“Technology is absolutely an enabler to make our lives easier, but it can also be a dangerous distraction,” says IBAS President & CEO Derek Lothian. “When used as a crutch, rather than assistance, it can become a significant safety risk not only for the user, but for passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, as well as other drivers who share the road.”
According to a 2017 study, drivers take an average of 40 seconds to program a destination into an in-vehicle navigation system — longer than making a call, sending a text message, or tuning the radio. Although this is not an issue when stationary, a 2020 poll conducted by the Canadian Automobile Association revealed that 47 per cent of Canadians admitted to programming navigation while driving.
“Any task that takes a driver’s focus off the road increases the likelihood of a collision,” adds SGI President & CEO Penny McCune. “Driver distraction and inattention is one of the leading causes of collisions, injuries, and deaths on our roads. Drivers should keep their eyes on the road — not on the screen.”
Here are some tips all drivers should consider before setting out:
- Program your navigation before departure. At a speed of 90 kilometres per hour, taking your eyes off the road for five seconds is the equivalent of traveling the full length of a football field. Program your destination ahead of time so it does not become a distraction while on the road.
- Get a passenger to help guide you. The auditory cues on navigation apps can be difficult to understand or interpret into action. Some apps even actively draw your attention to the screen, prompting the driver to confirm presence of law enforcement or a collision. To eliminate these distractions, ask a passenger to direct you and leave the navigation tool muted. If you do not have a passenger onboard, be cognizant of where your attention is being directed and ensure there are no competing interests to your focus on driving.
- Leave the phone alone. The best solution, of course, is to leave your phone alone entirely while behind the wheel. Familiarize yourself with your destination ahead of time, using a tool like Google Street View. Knowing the area and directions will enable you to keep your focus on the road, and to keep alert so you won’t miss your destination.
To learn more about traffic safety, visit www.sgi.sk.ca/safety.
Derek Lothian, ICD.D
President & CEO
Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan
Manager, Media Relations
Are you properly insured? When you register your vehicle in Saskatchewan, you buy basic insurance that is included with your licence plate. This basic insurance, however, is not enough to properly protect you in all situations, forcing you to pay directly for uninsured damages to property, injury or death of another person, or a victim's lost income and lost potential for income. Visit www.betterthanbasic.ca to learn more.