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How does distracted driving affect the brain?

Texting and driving is a real problem in the United States. Teens, along with others, often text behind the wheel, even though it's illegal.

According to TeenSafe, 94 percent of the teens surveyed understood that texting and driving was dangerous, but they did it anyway. Combined with the fact that around 9 percent of drivers between 15 and 19 were distracted at the time of fatal collisions, it's no surprise that teens are often affected by distracted driving collisions.

Distractions affect your brain

Distractions affect the way the brain processes information. Multitasking is something humans can do, but they can't do it very well. The brain really only processes one thing at a time, but it may do so rapidly, making it seem like you're truly multitasking. Unfortunately, when seconds mean the difference between getting into a serious crash or getting home safely, not focusing on the right task at the right time could become a problem.

When drivers are distracted by cellphones, activity in the part of the brain processing your surroundings slows by around 33 percent. Without being able to adequately process and respond to the environment around you, there is a much higher risk of getting into a crash.

Drivers may only be distracted for a few seconds, but those few seconds are enough to take their eyes and minds off the road and what's going on around them. When traveling quickly, the vehicle passes over yards of distance without the driver ever looking up. This is a risk no driver should take, since it can lead to a fatal crash.

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