Deadly Distractions - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Special Report - Highway Terror

Deadly Distractions

What is classified as distracting? A cell phone, the radio, eating in the car...can using these items in the car cause that much harm?

"It doesn't take long for you to be in an accident," said Tim O'Brien, defensive driving instructor. "We're not talking about reaching over and laying on the floorboard. We're just talking about that split second where I reach over to get a drink. The person in front of me that doesn't use their turn signal comes to a fairly quick stop."

But most of us are guilty of being distracted behind the wheel at some point in our lives.

"It's hard to get through to people unless they've been in an accident and they see the point," O'Brien said.

Talking on a cell phone while driving is almost like secondhand nature to some people.

"Especially with the cell phone," O'Brien said. "They create another blind spot. I can't see what's going on to the right of me. It's very difficult for me to lean around to see."

So how can we make the road a safer place?

"Leave it at home, number one," O'Brien said. "That's the best advice I can give you. Will people heed that advice? Probably not. The best thing you can do is take care of all these things before you get in the vehicle."

Of course, there's no way to make sure every driver will get rid of every distraction in their car. So just remember...when it comes to staying safe, paying attention is key.

"Nervous, yeah (I am). But what are we going to do, stay off the road?" O'Brien said. "It just makes you pay extra attention, because the majority of people aren't paying attention. And these people can hit you just as easily."

Next time you're on the road, keep this is mind... it only takes a split second for a distraction to take your eyes off the road. And that might be a second too late.

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