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Cellphones -- even when they're off -- lead to car accidents

It is no secret that using a cellphone while driving can cause a car accident. Although that includes sending texts while you're driving, that is not the only cellphone habit that can cause car accidents.

It is becoming well-known that the problem with cellphones is not just that you're hands are preoccupied and your eyes are off the wheel. The part of the brain that is used to carry on a conversation is the same part of the brain that is used to judge distance. As a result, some studies suggest that using a hands-free device can impair driving as much as a small amount of drinking.

Now it looks like Missouri highways would be safer if people do not even have cellphones in their car. Regardless of whether the phone is used, people are distracted by simply having their cellphones in the car. That distraction can be enough to cause car accidents.

The risk of car accidents caused by cellphone distractions is directly related to how attached people are to their phones. People who are less fixated on their cellphones and are able to disconnect from them are less likely to get in car accidents caused by distracted driving.

Of course, leaving you cellphone at home kind of defeats the purpose of having one. Instead, out of sight out and out of mind may help. To avoid anticipating calls or thinking about making one, turn your cellphone off when you're driving, and then put it in the glove compartment or your purse.

No call is so important that it is worth causing a car accident.

Source: the Atlantic, "Can Simply Thinking About Your Phone Lead to a Car Crash?" Brian Fung, April 30, 2012

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