The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization which works to reduce preventable deaths and injuries, estimates that one in four car accidents is the result of using a cell phone while driving. The worst part? It doesn’t matter how you use your phone – holding it, texting, or even going hands-free; you raise your risk of crashing simply by using a cell phone in your car.

Cell Phone Distractions Result In Preventable Deaths

Cell phone distractions are completely preventable, but people tend to think it won’t happen to them. Texting while driving is the riskiest behavior, resulting in 8 to 23 more times the likelihood getting into an accident. But just talking on a cell phone is a whopping four times riskier than not talking.

Your Brain Isn’t Built to Multitask While You’re Driving

At any given moment, 9% of all drivers are talking on a cell phone. That means for every 10 cars driving near you, at least one driver may be distracted.

People tend to believe that if you use a smartphone hands-free in your car, you mitigate the risks. However, research has shown that’s simply not true. Your brain can only think about one thing at a time. Since driving and using a cell phone are two separate things, your brain is always distracted from one or the other.

You can probably think of instances when you tried to multitask while driving and found yourself distracted. For example, it’s common to focus more on our GPS features navigating to an area we’re unfamiliar with, only to realize we missed the last few sentences the person on the phone said while we were looking at the map. Sometimes, unfortunately, the cell phone dominates our attention while our driving doesn’t get our full focus – and this is when accidents happen.

Cell Phone-Related Accidents Are Underreported

Researchers believe that cell phone-related crashes are vastly underreported and are more common than we think. Many drivers may not admit to police that they were using their cell phones while driving because they’re afraid of facing fines or greater liability. And, unfortunately, sometimes the driver can’t admit to phone use because the accident was fatal.

Drive Smarter – Don’t Use Your Phone

If you still feel tempted to use your cell phone while driving, there are apps available for Android and iPhones which activate themselves once your vehicle starts moving. They’ll silence your phone and send auto-replies to people who text or call, letting them know that you’re driving. Sure, you may have to wait to get back to your friends – but you’ll be guaranteeing a safer drive for both yourself and those around you. 

Have you been the victim of a cell-phone related car accident? If a cell phone user potentially caused your accident, talk to a personal injury lawyer about the auto, medical, and other costs you may be able to get reimbursed for.