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For teens, distracted driving has evolved beyond texting

The general philosophy of time management these days seems to be this: If you’re not doing at least two things at once, you’re wasting time. There are, of course, many ways in which this philosophy leads to an unhealthy lifestyle – especially in terms of one’s stress level.

But more importantly, multitasking often leads to mistakes and errors. And in the car, multitasking can be deadly. Georgia is among the vast majority of states to outlaw texting while driving, but this is just one of many dangerous distracted behaviors that drivers engage in.

According to a recent study, teenagers seem to be getting the message about texting while driving, but are missing the larger point about distraction. Researchers found that only 40 percent of teen drivers they surveyed admitted to texting, which is actually lower than in recent years.

But some of the behaviors they do engage behind the wheel are shocking. About 27 percent of respondents admitted that they occasionally change their shoes and/or clothes while driving. Many teens also said they use their driving time to do homework, put on makeup and even change their contact lenses.

How these tasks are conducted behind the wheel would be an interesting study in and of itself. But if we set aside logistical concerns for a moment, it is clear that these behaviors are as dangerous as texting, if not more so.

You may generally agree with the philosophy that multitasking helps you get more out of life. But when it comes to driving, attempting to multitask could actually end your life or the life of someone you love. Please make the decision to drive distraction-free, and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Source: National Public Radio News, “Teens Say They Change Clothes And Do Homework While Driving,” Maanvi Singh, March 18, 2015

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