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Driven to Distraction
  • Driven to Distraction

    Driven to Distraction

    Driving a car is a complex physical and mental operation. Not only does it require coordination and reflexes, it also requires rapid assessment skills and good judgment. Automakers have spent decades making cars easier and safer to drive, installing everything from rearview mirrors to automatic transmissions to cruise control. Despite that, some drivers insist on creating distractions for themselves behind the wheel, most of which have nothing to do with driving, safe or otherwise.
  • Distraction Causes Crashes

    Distraction Causes Crashes

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have studied driver behavior, and have categorized some of the causes of accidents in these reports. Their conclusion: "Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes."
  • Applying Makeup

    Applying Makeup

    Ladies, we know that it's impossible to get ready on time in the morning. But please, don't try to put on your mascara in traffic. Not only are you diverting your attention from the road, you're also at risk of looking like a sad clown by the time your get to the office.
  • Eating


    WeÔøΩve all done it on a busy day. A quick trip through the drive-through, and before you know it, you're eating a double cheeseburger with one hand, French fries with the other, balancing a soda with your elbow and steering with your knees. Beyond being a recipe for indigestion, eating behind the wheel is unsafe and distracting.
  • Talking on the Phone

    Talking on the Phone

    "Research shows that driving while using a cell phone can pose a serious cognitive distraction and degrade driver performance," according to NHTSA, Using a hands-free device can reduce distraction, but not eliminate it. In other words, hang up and drive.
  • Lounging


    One of the first things we learn in driver's ed is proper driving position. So why do so many drivers insist on slouching, reclining, leaning against the door or putting their feet out of the window? Not only is visibility compromised, reaction time is delayed and control is also compromised, so much of the crash protection engineered into the car is defeated. Straighten up and drive right, for your own good.
  • Petting the dog, cat, rabbit, bird or lizard

    Petting the dog, cat, rabbit, bird or lizard

    In swanky Beverly Hills, it's not uncommon to see a dog's face peeking out of the driver's window as a car whizzes by on Doheny Drive. The California state legislature even debated a law outlawing pets on drivers' laps. Confine your pet to the back seat or passenger seat. Pets are not immune to crashes, and can even cause them if they are unrestrained in the cabin.
  • Accessing the Internet

    Accessing the Internet

    We haven't seen this yet, but it's coming. Chrysler LLC recently announced that it will launch an in-vehicle wireless internet system for its vehicles. According to Chrysler, "'uconnect web' transforms the vehicle into a mobile 'hot spot,' delivering unlimited, reliable and uninterrupted Internet connectivity." The system will be available as a dealer installed accessory for Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep vehicles beginning in August, 2008. Uh-oh!
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