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Even the slightest distraction can lead to a devastating accident

For many people, multitasking while driving has become second nature. Millions of individuals find it nearly impossible to drive any distance without texting, talking on a cellphone, eating, reading or grooming. Unfortunately, a driver distracted by these activities can cause devastating, fatal car accidents.

With every new piece of personal electronics, a driver has that much more pressure to take his or her eyes off the road. It's getting cloudy - better check the weather app. Did my boss respond to my email? I'm almost home - I should update my Facebook status. Unfortunately, these actions can dramatically impact a driver's ability to safely negotiate traffic, intersections or even a stop sign.

Many divers assume that they can still be safe because they've been doing it for years. Driving while eating. Driving while updating a GPS address. Driving while changing a CD or selecting an MP3 to listen to. It has been said that drivers can be distracted in three ways:

  • Visual distractions: Simply taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can be deadly.
  • Cognitive distractions: Becoming lost in thought or concentrating on any task other than driving can lead to accidents.
  • Manual distractions: Anything that forces you to remove your hands from the steering wheel or your feet from the pedals diminishes your ability to physically control the vehicle.

Any of these activities alone can lead to serious accidents. Unfortunately, many activities combine distractions. Texting, for example, hits all three categories of distraction. You look at the screen - you think about the message to send - you use your fingers to actually type out the message.

When driving, it is imperative to consider your actions and the actions of those around you. Avoiding distractions can help you avoid accidents.

Source: Esurance, "3 types of distracted driving." Accessed June 24, 2015.

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