Local News

Pokemon No: AAA says don't grab monsters while driving

Posted July 13, 2016 10:00 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2016 10:48 a.m. EDT

— Millions of people have been caught up in the Pokemon Go craze in the last week, and that has them looking down at their smartphones quite a bit – even in the car, it seems.

AAA Carolinas reminded drivers Wednesday that the car isn't a place where Pokemon Go players should be looking for pocket monsters.

"Our sidewalks and roads are being transformed into virtual arenas, where motorists and pedestrians are racing to chase down the next Pokémon,” Tiffany Wright, president of the AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a statement.

“Playing this game behind the wheel is a huge distraction and increases your risk of causing a crash and could have deadly consequences.”

AAA says distracted driving contributes to about 5,000 traffic deaths each year, and studies suggest that drivers using cellphones are about four times more likely to be involved in a car crash than drivers not using phones.

“Playing Pokémon Go or similar games behind the wheel is just as dangerous as texting while driving,” Wright said. “Put the phone away. Disconnect and drive.”

​AAA's top 10 tips to avoid distracted driving:

  • Fully focus on driving and don't allow any activity to divert your attention. Actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Store loose items that could roll around in the car, so you don't feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
  • Make adjustments before your drive. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
  • Finish dressing and personal grooming at home - before you get on the road.
  • Snack smart. If possible, eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving.
  • Secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the back seat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Don't use cellphones while driving - handheld or hands-free - except in absolute emergencies. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games or the Internet with a wireless device, including those built into the vehicle, while driving.
  • If you have passengers, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.
  • If another activity demands your attention, instead of trying to attempt it while driving, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place. To avoid temptation, power down or stow devices before heading out.
  • As a general rule, if you cannot devote your full attention to driving because of another activity, it's a distraction. Take care of it before or after your trip, not while driving behind the wheel.