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2009 Press Releases

TIPS TO AVOID BEING “DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION”

MetLife Auto & Home ® Offers Free Brochures to Help Reinforce Safe Driving Basics

Warwick, RI — November 20, 2009 — In recent months, there’s been a great deal of attention paid to the issue of texting while driving, and with good reason: keeping your eyes on the tiny keyboard in front of you instead of the highway ahead is a sure way to head down the road to disaster. It’s also an increasing threat in this digital age. Unfortunately, texting is just the latest in a long line of distractions that are having deadly consequences on America’s roadways—with 426,000 lives tragically lost each year.

“Distracted driving is increasingly having an impact on lives lost and property damaged,” said Bill Moore, president of MetLife Auto & Home. “Safe driving is really about focus. Every day, our Claim Department receives reports of claims that could have been avoided, had the basic principles of defensive driving and driver attentiveness been observed.”

To help avoid being “driven to distraction,” MetLife Auto & Home reminds consumers to ask the following questions, when behind the wheel:

  • Are you keeping your eye on the prize? With cars more than ever resembling mobile offices and massive entertainment centers, it can be easy to forget the main reason that you’re behind the wheel. Keep in mind: these distractions can cut your reaction time in half, and with most accidents occurring in seconds, you need all the time you can get.
  • Are you awake enough to drive? Driver fatigue leads to driver inattentiveness, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 100,000 crashes are caused each year by drivers literally being asleep at the wheel. Recognize the signs of drowsy driving, which include difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, irritability, and frequent yawning—and then, take action.
  • Are you more interested in your cell phone conversation than the road ahead? Many states are placing restrictions on the use of cell phones while driving. Even in states where it’s permissible, avoid doing so whenever possible. Talking on a cell phone will increase the likelihood of getting involved in a motor vehicle accident, so if you absolutely need to call, pull off the road to a safe location and dial away.
  • Do you have a designated deejay? Simple things like changing the radio dial or finding that “perfect song” on your MP3 player may seem harmless, but they can be a big distraction. Whenever possible, let your passengers “take the wheel” when it comes to selecting the musical mood.
  • Are you being lazy about changing lanes? It’s critical you look> briefly over both shoulders before changing lanes, even if you’d rather focus on other things. Even if you have onboard technology installed in the car, such as blind spot and rear view indicators, the basics you learned in driver’s education will always apply: signal your intention, check your mirrors, and then glance back both ways to be certain that no one—or no thing—has found its way into your blind spots.
  • Are you day-driving or daydreaming? Even without external distractions, it’s easy to get caught up thinking about personal problems or work assignments. If you feel yourself losing your focus, give yourself a wake up call, and set aside your problems. They can wait until the ride is over.

For additional information, MetLife Auto & Home offers free brochures: “Driving While Distracted: Be a Safer Driver,” containing additional information on the subject; and “In the Driver’s Seat: About Driving Safely,” a 12-page booklet containing information on safe driving basics, including defensive driving tips, the facts on cell phone usage, and what to do in the event of a car breakdown or accident. Both are available by calling 1-800-638-5433 (MET-LIFE).

The MetLife Auto & Home companies, subsidiaries of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), are collectively one of the nation’s leading personal lines property and casualty insurance providers, insuring over 3.8 million autos and homes. Their affiliate, MetLife®, is a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the U.S. and Latin America, Europe, and Asia’s Pacific regions. For more information, please visit www.metlife.com.

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