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Distracted driving includes more than just texting

Even though the light rail has improved public transportation in and around Denver in recent years, Coloradoans continue to have a love affair with their vehicles. If you commute to work every day, you know there are more cars than ever on metro-area roadways.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, distracted drivers contribute to 43 crashes every single day in the Centennial State. That is an alarmingly high number. While reserving your smartphone only for emergencies is a good way to avoid distracted driving, you must realize that distracted driving includes more than just texting. 

1. Hungry driving 

Everyone knows that driving after drinking alcohol is a bad idea. That said, eating behind the wheel can also be a recipe for disaster. When trying to unwrap a cheeseburger, put ketchup on fries or otherwise enjoy your lunch, you may be less capable of monitoring the road. As such, even though many restaurants have drive-up windows, you should choose to dine inside the establishment or wait until you get home to satisfy your appetite.

2. Drowsy driving 

While you may strive to get several hours of sleep each night, life has a way of disrupting plans. Still, you never want to slide behind the wheel if you feel drowsy. Sleepy driving reduces road awareness, slows reaction times and shortens attention spans. Unfortunately, though, according to a recent study, roughly half of the drivers in the United States admit to drowsy driving. Even worse, about 20% of U.S. drivers say they have fallen asleep on the road.

3. Busy driving 

Like most of your metro-area neighbors, you have a busy life. That is, you may have to juggle work, family, recreation and other obligations. While there is nothing wrong with keeping a full schedule, you do not want to multi-task in your car. Applying makeup, reading the news on your phone and responding to email take your eyes off the road.

For good reason, distracted driving has developed a bad reputation in recent years. Remember, though, distracted driving includes more than just sending text messages. While putting away your phone until you arrive at your destination is critical, you must also think about other behaviors. If you want to decrease your chances of an automobile collision, focus exclusively on driving when you are in the car.