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Distractions increase the risk of collisions: Avoid them!

When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, you are essentially driving a weapon. If you do not pay attention to the road, the rules of the road, the weather conditions or other aspects of driving, then you could be involved in a serious, potentially fatal, traffic accident.

Multitasking and driving do not mix. Even for those who have experience, the reality is that trying to do more than one thing at the same time makes it more likely that you're going to be involved in an accident.

Multitasking effectively is a myth behind the wheel

People are often told that multitasking is a great way to get things done. The truth is that the brain can't actually multitask as well as you may have been led to believe. The brain can't focus on more than one cognitively demanding task at once. Cognitively demanding activities require your focus.

As you become distracted visually, manually or cognitively, you increase the risk of getting into an accident exponentially. Driving is considered to be a cognitively demanding task. That means that trying to multitask while doing it is setting yourself up for a collision in the future.

Who is most likely to get into a traffic accident?

Drivers who use a phone to text, fiddle with the radio station, read, eat or perform other tasks while driving are more likely to leave their lane and to fail to see changes that are happening around them. While a driver who is focused might be able to avoid a crash caused by another person's mistake, someone who is multitasking may not be able to see it coming.

How do distractions increase the risk of crashes?

The National Safety Council states that reading increases your risk of a crash by 3.4 times. Talking on a cellphone increases the risk of a crash by four times. Turning around in your seat, like a parent may do to reprimand a child, increases your risk of a crash by 8.8 times.

There is no easy way to avoid every distraction that you may face on the road, but the reality is that you can take some steps to avoid distractions. If you can, turn off your phone, set aside reading material, pull over to eat or drink and take steps to stay focused on the road at all times. Doing so may prevent a crash and save your life.

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