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4 myths about distracted driving to kick off Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Photo of Harlan Thompson

Every year in the United States, thousands of people die because of distracted driving. The National Safety Council hopes to shine a light on this epidemic and encourage drivers to put the devices down. To do that, the council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

We'll be covering topics related to distracted driving all month long on our blog. Today, we highlight four myths about distracted driving that motorists may use to justify unsafe driving behavior.

Myth 1: Drivers can multitask.

Reality: The human brain can only truly focus on one thing at a time. Numerous studies have shown that the brain has to switch between driving and talking on the phone when you try to multitask - which slows reaction time and increases the likelihood of an accident.

Myth 2: Hands-free talking is safe.

Reality: Even if both hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road, talking to someone on the phone can cause you to miss seeing up to 50% of your surroundings, including signs, lights, pedestrians and other vehicles.

Myth 3: It's okay to use your phone at stoplights.

Reality: Even if your car is stopped, you are still driving when you're waiting at a light. It's important to be attentive at all times when you're behind the wheel. Furthermore, a recent study by AAA showed that drivers were distracted for up to 27 seconds after sending a voice text - longer than the length of many lights.

Myth 4: Talking on the phone is just like speaking to a passenger.

Reality: Not really. A passenger is aware of what's going on around your vehicle - and may even help you avoid hazards. A person on the phone has no insight into what's going on around you and is more likely to be a distraction than a help.

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