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Don’t let the holidays distract you

Don’t let the holidays distract you

Now’s the time for extra diligence behind the wheel

RANCHO CORDOVA, California, November 18, 2016 – The holiday season can be a time of warmth, happiness and peace as people make lifelong memories with loved ones. But it can turn heartbreakingly tragic in a second when drivers take their eyes off the road, whether it’s to read a text, answer a call, or dig into a tin of homemade holiday cookies on the seat next to them.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were hurt in crashes that involved distracted drivers in 2014, the most recent year cited in an April 2016 report. In addition, 10 percent of fatal accidents and 18 percent of injury crashes involved distracted driving.1

These kinds of statistics are why Allstate is encouraging drivers to work extra hard to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road this holiday season.

“Everyone thinks they’re a good driver, but when you already have so much on your mind – buying gifts, planning parties, keeping your grocery list straight – the last thing you need is another distraction,” said Freddy Santos, Allstate’s senior corporate relations manager for California. “That’s why we’re reminding people that when they’re behind the wheel, staying focused is their most important task at hand.”

Because it can be hard not glancing down when you hear a text come in, drivers might want a little help saving themselves from their own temptations with devices and apps like Allstate’s Drivewise, which has a feature allowing Android users to block texts while driving.

But distractions come from more than just texts. The California Friday Night Live Partnership used an Allstate Foundation grant to help conduct its annual survey of intersections near schools across the state in October, during which student volunteers saw distracted driving incidents rise by 2.5 percent over 2015. While hand-held use of a cell phone was the most common distracted driving behavior they saw, other activities included:

  • Kissing
  • Eating with a utensil
  • Using a tablet
  • Driving with a pet on the lap
  • Personal grooming

Tips for Distraction-Free Driving
Allstate provides drivers with helpful tips to prevent distracted driving before getting behind the wheel.

  • Put your cell phone and other mobile devices out of reach to eliminate the desire to check them while driving.
  • Plan ahead by inputting navigation directions and sending messages before leaving for your destination.
  • Use caution when choosing to listen to loud music or engage with other passengers in your vehicle, which are often unintended distractions.
  • Keep both hands on the steering wheel and don’t try to multi-task with other common distractions like eating or applying makeup.

1 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Distracted Driving 2014, Traffic Safety Facts, April 2016.

Survey Methodology
The survey of 119 intersections near high schools and middle schools in 33 counties across California was conducted between 7 and 8 a.m. on Oct. 11, 2016. The survey was conducted by the California Friday Night Live Partnership.

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names. Now celebrating its 85th anniversary as an insurer, Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” Allstate agencies are in virtually every local community in America. In 2015, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $36 million to support local communities.

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