Nationwide Insurance Survey: Distracted Drivers Fuel Need for Defensive Riding


Columbus, Ohio – Nationwide Insurance recently released the results of its second annual Driving While Distracted (DWD) survey and the findings highlight the need for motorcyclists to ride defensively.
While 98 percent of Americans claim to be safe drivers, 72 percent of all drivers admit to partaking in some form of distracting behavior while driving, from cell phone use to eating.
“Drivers need to be aware of the hazard they pose when they are inattentive,” said Bill Windsor, Associate Vice President of Safety at Nationwide. “Distracted driving is a danger to all sharing the road – but motorcyclists in particular will benefit from more conscientious motorists.”
Here, Windsor offers key survey findings and tips for riders sharing the road with distracted drivers.
C Distractions made up three of the top four reasons why survey respondents needed to suddenly apply the brakes while driving. While other drivers were cited as the top reason for sudden stops, daydreaming, adjusting music and use of a cell phone/electronic device filled out the top four.
C Rider tip: Look inside a vehicle’s windows to determine if a driver is fully focused on the road. If a driver appears distracted, try to avoid passing the vehicle. Or, if you must pass, give the car additional space.
C Overall, more cell phone owners found themselves talking or texting while driving on highways or through city streets than when they were parked, in traffic or at a light (almost 50 percent vs. almost 37 percent).
C Rider tip: Drivers might pose a greater risk while moving, but remember to fully study your surroundings (including checking your mirrors) while stopped. You can identify who has seen you – and who is distracted - and adjust your actions accordingly.

C When asked what would be the most successful in preventing cell phone use while driving, survey respondents were closely split; 43 percent said technology that would prevent cell phones from working in the car, while 42 percent said laws banning the use of cell phones/electronic devices while driving.

C Rider tip: Current laws and technology allow motorists to use cell phones while driving. Take care to leave your headlights on, use reflective strips on your clothing and motorcycle, avoid blind spots and flash your brake lights when stopping to maximize your chance of being seen by a distracted driver.
Nationwide is committed to making the road safe for all travelers. As part of its ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the prevalence of DWD, Nationwide will be partnering with the National Safety Council to jointly host a DWD Symposium in Washington, D.C., on October 14-15, 2008. At this Symposium, Nationwide and the National Safety Council will gather thought leaders to discuss which distractions pose the greatest threat and how distracted driving can be mitigated.
Even the most cautious enthusiasts should make sure their vehicles are covered in case of a collision. Nationwide’s motorcycle insurance policies cover theft, collision, vandalism and damage caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers. To learn more about motorcycle insurance or to find an agent, visit www.nationwide.com


The survey was conducted via phone by MRSI. A total of 1,503 phone surveys were completed between April 15 and April 24, 2008, among a national sample. All respondents were required to be between the ages of 16 and 61 and drive a car. A total of 749 men and 754 women were surveyed. The survey has 2.5 percent margin of error.

About Nationwide:
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $161 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks #108 on the Fortune 500 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life, farm, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.

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