NASCAR star Erik Jones, who drives the legendary No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE for Richard Petty Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS), and BASF are helping the National Auto Body Council® (NABC) to put the brakes on distracted driving, just in time for National Distracted Driving Month in April.
Distracted driving, particularly related to cell phone use and in-vehicle digital displays, has become one of the most significant factors in vehicle accidents in the U.S. Many states are enacting tough laws banning phone use in the car with stiff fines attached.
Working with Richard Petty Motorsports partner BASF, the official paint of the team, Jones, a Michigan native with two wins in the NASCAR Cup Series, is sharing his tips and advice for reducing distractions on the road, especially for younger drivers.
“As a NASCAR driver, I know that even the slightest distraction can take your focus off what is in front of you,” Jones said. “When I get in my race car, I take the time to focus my attention and make sure everything is set before I fire-up the engine. I do the same thing when I get in my own Chevrolet – I check my directions and set my GPS, line up my music and make sure my phone is put away where I can’t see it and am not tempted to answer it – before I put it in gear. Your car covers 45 feet in one second at 30 mph – that’s one quick look at your cell phone. We all need to make the effort to put down our phones and put the brakes on distracted driving.”
- Jones, who has spent more than a decade competing in a variety of racing series, offers these tips for staying safe and focused on the road:
- Before you put your car in gear, check your messages and texts to answer anything outstanding
- Set an automatic response that tells everyone that for safety reasons, you no longer answer calls or respond to messages while driving
- Put your phone on silent when you get into your car and connect to your screen display in the talk to text mode, if needed
- If you’re driving with friends, put someone else in charge of music and selfies, but make sure they aren’t distracting the driver!
- If you are out late or too tired to drive home, sleep over or call Uber
- Listen to your GPS device; set up your destination directions to audio instructions before you leave and don’t look at it!
- Adjust your driving setup to your liking before you drive – and if you’re driving a rental car, make sure you’re familiar with all the controls in advance
- Pull over if you need to make a call or check a message
“For young drivers, it’s a lot to learn to handle a vehicle, navigate the roads, anticipate what other drivers will do and get to your destination safely,” said Jones, who is 24. “Adding the distraction of a cell phone or digital display to that mix is a dangerous combination. Drivers need to keep their focus solely on the road to ensure the of safety of vehicle passengers, other folks on the road and, of course, themselves.”
Longtime NABC® member BASF is committed to helping all drivers be safer on the road.
“As a partner with the National Auto Body Council and their Distracted Driving initiative, we are proud to support this program to help educate drivers about being safer on the road,” said Jane Niemi, North American Marketing Manager for BASF. “And, as a partner with Richard Petty Motorsports, we couldn’t have a better representative for this program than the driver of the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE – Erik Jones.”