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Distracted Driving Even Without Your Cell Phone

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Driving with Cell Phone
By Ashley Amerio

At this day and age, technology is at an all-time high, stealing attention away from everyday tasks and putting people at risk for accidents because of these distractions. Rarely do people pay attention to the world going on around them, with their heads down and the online world at their fingertips. On a daily, hourly, or even secondly basis, we are bombarded by things competing for our attention. Anything from the TV, to the radio. From the internet ads to your cell phone stuffed with social media, everything is right there at your fingertips, you would wonder why you’d EVER need to look up! With so much technology constantly in our field of vision, it is easy to get distracted from things that immediately require your attention.

So, what should we be paying attention to instead of (not in addition to) technology? Driving is one thing of superior importance. Despite California’s ban on texting and handheld cell phone use behind the wheel, distracted driving is still proving to be an incredibly common hazard of the road. In fact, recent studies show that your cell phone could even be a distraction while you are driving, regardless of whether you look at them or pick them up.

The researchers in the study sought out to determine one thing: whether even just simply hearing cell phone notification tones were enough to cause task-impairing distraction.  They found that test participants who heard notification tones experienced mind wandering and task-irrelevant thoughts. You see, before cell phones were invented, there were landlines. Before caller ID was invented, and you never knew who was on the other side of the line, a ringing telephone typically demanded to be answered. Most people back then would feel incredibly on edge if someone didn’t pick up the phone in a timely manner. In the same manner, text messages as well as other forms of instant communication tend to give similar feelings for people. Meaning that, if a driver receives a text message notification, until they learn who texted or called them and what they had to say, they may be unable to concentrate 100% on driving and the surrounding road.

You’ve heard it here first, everyone. You don’t even need your phone in your hand for it to be considered a distraction. We suggest completely silencing your phone and putting it somewhere you cannot reach in order to avoid all distractions on the road. Being a driver behind the wheel comes with responsibility.

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