Modern cars are safer than ever before, but along with high-tech advances in automobiles, electronic doodads, and gizmos can also be a distraction. Combined with other risky driving habits, the chances of having an auto accident can increase substantially.

Distracted driving: Drivers using cell phones for texting or other messaging applications are up to eight times as likely to be involved in an automobile accident. Talking on the cell phone makes accidents four times as likely than non- distracted driving.

Over 25% of fatal crashes in some parts of Canada involved distracted drivers, with police across Canada saying that distracted driving causes more collisions than impaired drivers. Even texting at red lights can be risky business because it takes your focus off the road and the traffic around you.

Speeding: The warm weather tends to bring out our need for speed, with over 60% of Canadians admitting to catching themselves speeding in the warmer months according to a recent insurance survey.

About 800 Canadian fatalities are reported each year with another 3,000 injuries reported due to collisions which involve speed as the major contributing factor. It seems obvious but going faster gives us less time to react to road changes or unexpected obstacles — and faster speeds create longer stopping distances. Studies estimate that 20% of auto accidents are due to vehicle speed.

Driving when fatigued: Driver fatigue is is another leading factor in auto accidents across Canada, with fatigue contributing to more than one in five collisions, making it one of the leading causes of automotive deaths. The effects of fatigue can be similar to intoxication, affecting concentration, reflexes, and impairing our ability to process information from the surrounding environment.

Technology in some newer vehicles can alert drivers when sensors detect that the driver is becoming drowsy. However, in most cases, we don’t need technology to beep at us to tell us when we’re tired. The safest solution is to park the vehicle and rest.