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    Avoid Distracted Driving

    Did you know?

    By far the most common cause of driver distraction is the use of cell phones. But other leading causes include eating, dancing, and applying makeup.

    Many car accidents occur during the summer months when groups are involved in camps and other activities. Many of the accidents are avoidable. Be careful!

    If you’re a passenger, look out for things that could distract the driver. If you’re driving, just drive.

    National Safety Council Myths

    Myth 1: Drivers can multitask.

    Reality: Contrary to popular belief, the human brain cannot multitask. Driving and talking on a cell phone are two thinking tasks that involve many areas of the brain. Instead of processing both simultaneously, the brain rapidly switches between two cognitive activities.

    Myth 2: Talking to someone on a cell phone is no different than talking to someone in the car.

    Reality: A study by the University of Utah found that drivers distracted by cell phones are more oblivious to changing traffic conditions because they are the only ones in the conversation who are aware of the road. In contrast, adult passengers can be an extra set of eyes and ears to help keep the driver alert of oncoming traffic problems. Adult passengers tend to adjust their talking when traffic is challenging. People on the other end of a driver’s cell phone cannot do that.

    Myth 3: Hands-free devices eliminate the danger of cell-phone use during driving.

    Reality: Whether handheld or hands-free, cell-phone conversations while driving are risky because the distraction to the brain remains. Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50 percent of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights. They look but they don’t see. This phenomenon is also known as “inattention blindness.”

    Myth 4: Drivers talking on cell phones still have a quicker reaction time than those who are driving under the influence.

    Reality: A controlled driving simulator study conducted by the University of Utah found that drivers using cell phones had slower reaction times than drivers with a 0.08 blood alcohol content, the legal intoxication limit.

    For more information, check out Distracted Driving.

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