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Understanding the dangers of distracted driving

According to the National Safety Council, along with alcohol and speeding, distracted driving is one of the top three causes of traffic accidents and fatalities. A simple text message is all it takes for a car journey to turn into a trip to hospital for emergency care. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which is the perfect time to assess your own driving habits and consider what you can do to make the roads safer for everyone. Get the facts here about the dangers of distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving occurs when your mind is not focused on the activity of driving. Although your brain can switch between different activities quickly, it can’t do two things at once, which is what makes distracted driving so dangerous.

When you are talking on the phone, the part of your brain that works to process visual images decreases activity by about 30 percent. That is the reason that even hands-free devices are dangerous to use when driving.

What are some common causes of distracted driving?

Most people think of cell phones when they think of distracted driving, and texting and talking on the phone are certainly common distractions. However, many other things can cause distraction when you’re driving, including things that may seem like normal things to do in the car. Some other causes of distracted driving include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Changing radio stations
  • Using in-dash navigation systems
  • Putting on makeup

How can I prevent distracted driving?

Make it a habit to store your phone out of reach when you’re driving, and pull over if you need to use it. Set your radio station and navigation systems before you leave. If you have a group of passengers, ask them to keep the noise levels down. If you are the parent of a teen driver, set an example by keeping your attention completely on the road.

If an accident does occur, Lawnwood Regional Medical Center provides emergency care in the Treasure Coast around the clock for all of your urgent medical needs, including a fully equipped pediatric ER for young patients. To learn more about our hospital services, please call (800) 382-3522.

Categories: Trauma, Distracted Driving

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