Fatal motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of accidental death in Louisiana. Many crashes result from distracted driving. Countless people engage in distracted driving from time to time, so it’s important to understand how to avoid distractions.
How distracted driving works
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there are three types of distracted driving. These include:
Cognitive distraction involves any activity that directs your thoughts away from driving. Many instances of distraction involve all three types. For example, texting involves all three: It takes your eyes off the road, takes at least one of your hands off the wheel and makes you think about your texts.
Cellphone usage is one of the most well-known distractions that cause motor vehicle accidents. Statistics show that drivers are using cellphones just prior to one in four car accidents.
Some distractions are purely cognitive, which makes them hard to recognize. With your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, it’s easy to believe you’re not distracted, but that’s not always the case. Using a hands-free system to talk to someone on the phone might be just as distracting as texting. Other cognitive distractions might include sounds from children in the back seat.
Preventing cognitive distractions
Fortunately, you can take steps to avoid cognitive distraction. Here are a few:
- Make calls before or after driving even if you have a hands-free device.
- Turn off phone notifications.
- Pull over if you feel distracted.
- Ask passengers to be quiet if you need to focus.
- Provide children with items to entertain themselves quietly.
Cognitive distractions are everywhere, and it’s easy to let yourself fall prey to them. Before you get behind the wheel, consider ways to lessen your chances of cognitive distraction. It might prevent a car accident and save your life.
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