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Hang Up and Drive

"Hang up and drive!" It's something almost all of us have shouted while sitting behind a car with a driver too absorbed in a cell phone chat to pay attention to the fact that the light has turned green, the lane is ending, or any number of other road-related issues. Cell phone usage isn't the only distraction in our lives as motorists, of course. Other distractions include eating behind the wheel, putting on make-up, or dealing with small children. In fact a recent report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that about 80% of actual crashes and 65% of near-crashes were caused by some kind of inattention from the driver during the three seconds immediately preceding the event, and another survey, this time provided by Nationwide Insurance, found that 98% of American drivers claim to be safe, while also admitting to often driving while distracted. The number one cause of that distraction? You guessed it: the cell phone.

81% of the drivers in the Nationwide survey confessed to making calls while also handling the wheel, and other studies have found that whether the phone is hand-held or hands-free has little effect on the attention of the driver. Either way, the effect is eerily similar to the level of distraction you'd find in an adult who was driving with a blood alcohol content of .08%, or legally drunk ? and with teen drivers, the likelihood of a phone-related accident is significantly greater than with adults.

Here is more specific information: There is no significant difference between talking, listening and dialing a cell phone while driving. Both handheld and hands-free conversations are equally distracting. Roughly 10% of all drivers on the road during daylight house are actively using some kind of cell phone system. Text-messaging, GPS systems, and in-dash computer systems are also culprits when it comes to driver distraction. The decrease in response time is comparable to that of a person who is driving while intoxicated. No other factor is a more significant cause of driver distraction than cell phone usage.

With all that information available to you, think carefully the next time you have the urge to make a call at a red light, or answer one while you're on the road. Is anything really so important that it's worth risking your life, and that of the other drivers with you on the road?.

Driving less won't just save you money on gas this summer, it could also get you cheaper car insurance rates. Let us show you why.

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