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Are you an unintentionally distracted driver?

You have read the distracted driving accident statistics in California and nationwide, and you understand how important it is to turn off your cellphone while you drive. However, distractions have been a factor in traffic crashes since the first cars took to the roads.

Even when you keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes are fixed on the road ahead, you may be driving distracted.

What is distracted driving?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, you are distracted if you are not paying full attention to the road. This means failing to scan the roadway ahead and being unprepared to make defensive maneuvers in a sudden traffic situation. The longer it takes to recognize a risk, the less likely you are to be able to respond to it. In particular, distracted driving increases the chances of a rear-end crash.

How do you know if you are distracted?

Driving the same route every day can send your brain on autopilot at times, and you may not even realize you have lost focus. If you get to where you were going without remembering the trip itself, you have been driving distracted. Other signs you were not paying attention may include:

  • A reaction from a passenger because of a driving error
  • A missed traffic signal
  • The need to slam on your brakes

Research indicates that even a conversation with a passenger can be enough to reduce your focus and your ability to react quickly, if needed. Other factors that could cause your attention to wander include a lack of sleep or a stressful problem at home or work. 

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