BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuDistracted drivingSafety - distracted drivingDistracted driving is doing any activity that takes your attention away from driving. This includes using a cell phone to call or text while driving. Distracted driving makes you more likely to get into a crash.As a result, many states have enacted laws to help stop the practice. You can avoid distracted driving by learning how to stay safe with a cell phone in the car.Examples of Distracted DrivingTo drive safely, the National Safety Council says you should have:Your eyes on the road Your hands on the wheel Your mind on drivingDistracted driving occurs when something gets in the way of you doing all 3 things. Examples include:Talking on a cell phone Reading or sending text messages Eating and drinking Grooming (fixing your hair, shaving, or putting on makeup) Adjusting a radio or other device that plays music Using a navigation system Reading (including maps)The Dangers of Talking on the Phone While DrivingYou are four times more likely to get into a car crash if you are talking on a cell phone. That is the same risk as driving drunk. Reaching for the phone, dialing it, and talking all take your attention away from driving.Even hands-free phones are not that safe. When drivers use hands-free phones, they do not see or hear things that can help them avoid a crash. This includes stop signs, red lights, and pedestrians. About 25% of all car crashes involve cell phone use, including hands-free phones.Talking to other people in the car is less risky than talking on a phone. A passenger can see traffic problems ahead and stop talking. They also provide another set of eyes to spot and point out traffic hazards.Texting and Driving: Even More DangerousTexting while driving is riskier than talking on a phone. Typing on the phone takes more of your attention than other distractions. Even talking into the phone to send a text message (voice-to-text) is not safe.When you text, your eyes are off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 mph, a car travels half the length of a football field in 5 seconds. A lot can happen in that short amount of time.Who is at RiskDistracted driving is a problem among people of all ages. But teens and young adults are at the highest risk. Most teens and young people say they have written, sent, or read texts while driving. Younger inexperienced drivers have the highest number of fatal crashes caused by distracted driving. If you are a parent, teach your child about the dangers of talking and texting while driving.How to Stop Distracted DrivingUse these tips to steer clear of distractions while driving:DO NOT multitask. Before you turn on your car, finish eating, drinking, and grooming. Program your audio and navigation systems before you start to drive. When you get in the driver's seat, turn off your phone and place it out of reach. If you are caught using a phone while driving, you may risk a ticket or fine. Most states have banned texting while driving for people of all ages. Some have also banned the use of handheld phones while driving. Learn about the laws in your state at: www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/state-laws.html. Download an app that locks the phone. These apps work by blocking features like texting and calling while the car is moving over a set speed limit. Most are controlled remotely through a website and charge a monthly or yearly fee. You can also buy systems that plug into the car's computer or are placed on the windshield that limit cell phone use while the car is moving. Pledge not to use your cell phone while driving. Sign the National Highway Safety Administration's pledge at www.distraction.gov/take-action/take-the-pledge.html. It also includes a promise to speak out if the driver in your car is distracted and to encourage friends and family to drive phone-free. Open ReferencesReferencesCenter for Disease Control and Prevention website. Distracted driving. www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving. Accessed October 13, 2016.Klauer SG, Guo F, Simons-Morton BG, Ouimet MC, Lee SE, Dingus TA. Distracted driving and risk of road crashes among novice and experienced drivers. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(1):54-59. PMID: 24382065 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24382065.National Safety Council website. Ending distracted driving is everyone's responsibility. www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving.aspx. Accessed October 13, 2016.National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving. Accessed October 13, 2016.Texas A&M Transportation Institute website. Voice-to-Text driver distraction study. tti.tamu.edu/enhanced-project/voice-to-text-driver-distraction-study. Accessed October 13, 2016.AllVideoImagesTogSelf Care Driving and older adultsRelated Information Review Date: 7/22/2016 Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 03-29-18. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.