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The Dangers of Using a Cell Phone While Driving

The Dangers of Using a Cell Phone While Driving

According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, the single most prevalent cause of distraction for motorists is attention to wireless devices, including cell phones. Statistics indicate that people who use a cell phone (without a blue tooth or similar device) while driving increase their risk of serious accidents four-fold. One in four crashes reported to police involve a driver who was distracted. Here are some facts about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. It's not just the fact that a cell phone will take your attention off the road, though. The University of Utah studied the use of cell phones by drivers. The research demonstrated that, regardless of whether the phone was hand-held or hands free, the use of a cell phone slowed the driver's reaction time to an extent comparable with driving while legally intoxicated. Research by Carnegie Mellon Institute confirmed this, finding that the use of a cell phone while driving reduces brain activity by nearly 40%.

Driving and Talking—A Formula for Disaster

Scientists have long known that, regardless of what we want to believe about multi-tasking, our brains are generally not capable of focusing on more than two things at any given time. This is the way most meditation works—you focus on your breathing and some other task, such as counting backward, and your brain becomes emptied of all other stressful thoughts or ideas. If you are driving and talking, you have no room left for any other activity. It could be something as simple as looking for the landmark or street where you want to turn. How many times have you driven past your exit while talking on the phone? That's because your brain is already at its threshold. Missing your exit may not be a big deal. You can turn around and get to it. But what if there's an unexpected act by another driver or another person. Someone walks out in front of you or another driver fails to stop at a light or traffic sign. Before you can take appropriate measures, you have to stop talking on your phone. By then, it may be too late. Another major problem that arises when people talk and drive at the same time—and this has been corroborated in a study by MedicalNewsToday.com—you pay less attention to the speed you are traveling. Instead of looking at your speedometer, you tend to follow the flow of those around you. The study in MedicalNewsToday.com showed that people who talked and drove at the same time drove more erratically with less speed control. They were ticketed more frequently for speeding, lost control of their vehicles more often, and were less prepared to stop if another vehicle pulled into their path.

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