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Why must drivers avoid distractions behind the wheel?

Drivers must ensure that they don't let anything take their mind — or hands — off of operating their vehicles. When they do allow themselves to become distracted, they can cause accidents that can be devastating to themselves and others on the road.

Distracted driving is a very serious issue in this country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that there are around 1,000 people injured and nine killed each day in this country in accidents that involve distracted drivers.

Why is distracted driving so dangerous?

When you are driving a vehicle at 55 miles per hour, you traverse the length of a football field in only five seconds. Now, imagine that you get a text and need to reply to it. This will likely take you at least that long to read the text, and probably even longer to respond to it.

Throughout the distance that you travel when you are distracted, there is a chance that you will come into contact with other vehicles. You might also encounter other obstacles. These are each an opportunity to be involved in a crash under certain circumstances.

What kinds of distractions are dangerous?

Any distraction can be dangerous. There are three types of distractions that can occur: cognitive, visual and manual. In some instances, a single activity can lead to more than one type of distraction.

A cognitive distraction is one that occupies your mind on something besides driving. A visual distraction requires that you look at something other than the road. A manual distraction takes your hand off the wheel.

Think about sending or reading a text. You have to look at your phone, manipulate the screen and comprehend what is in the message. This means that texting includes all three types of distractions.

Other distracting actions include putting on makeup, setting navigation devices, grooming, eating, adjusting the climate control or music settings, talking to passengers, reaching for something or a host of other actions. In each of these cases, your full attention isn't on the road.

Many people don't realize that even being lost in your own thoughts or worrying about something can be a distraction. It is possible that these will cause you to kind of zone out while you drive, which is dangerous.

People who are injured by distracted drivers might choose to seek compensation for the damages they suffer. This can help alleviate the financial pressure that comes with suffering a serious injury.

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