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Distracted driving: From risk factors to prevention

Distracted driving is one of the top causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States.

Even though every motorist understands how important it is to keep his or her eyes on the road at all times, this isn't always the way things work out. Simply put, people become distracted for a number of reasons.

There are three primary types of distraction:

-- Cognitive. This occurs when you take your mind off of driving, and instead turn your attention to something else.

-- Manual. This is when you remove one or both hands from the steering wheel.

-- Visual. This occurs when you take your eyes off the road.

There are many types of distracted driving activities, with texting and other forms of cell phone use at the top of the list.

The biggest problem with texting and driving is that it entails all three types of distraction. This is why it's become such a major concern among motorists and law enforcement officials throughout the United States.

Risk factors

Anyone can fall prey to a distraction when they are behind the wheel. However, drivers under the age of 20 are most likely to make this mistake.

For example, according to the CDC's national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System from 2015, 42 percent of high school students who drive over the past month admitted to sending an email or text while driving.

Prevention

The best way to prevent distracted driving is for every driver to dedicate him or herself to avoiding this behavior. Along with this, parents should work closely with younger drivers to ensure that they understand the risks of distracted driving.

Most states have laws in place to help prevent texting and driving, which has helped reduce the number of accidents.

Even if you always keep your eyes on the road and your mind in the right place, other drivers may not do the same. This is why you need to be prepared for anything and everything that could happen while you're on the road.

If another driver becomes distracted and strikes your vehicle, move your car to the side of the road and call for emergency help. From there, obtain medical treatment and then learn more about your legal rights.

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