We’re all familiar with night blindness, but have you ever heard about cell phone blindness? We’re not just referring to distracted behavior. We’re talking about a dangerous issue that may be causing more accidents than you could imagine. At 1stCertified Collision Center, we’re all about safety, and we want you to know that cell phone blindness is a serious condition for drivers of all ages. According to a recent University of Utah study, 28 percent of all crashes and fatalities on America’s highways are caused by cell phone blindness.

The study – consisting of 200 participants in a driving simulator – found that cell phones decreased a driver’s ability to perform memory and math tasks, in addition to slowing reaction times. Only 2.5 percent of the motorists in the study experienced no issues with their driving ability while multitasking with a cell phone.

The findings were consistent with other studies that suggested cell phone discussions cause drivers to see less than half the information in a driving environment. Researchers have dubbed this condition as “inattention blindness”.

Here are some sage suggestions on how to avoid distracted driving, brought to you by all of us at 1stCertified Collision Center:

Be Prepared. It’s the Boy and Girl Scout’s motto and it’s a wise way to be. Read maps and check traffic conditions before you get on the road.

– Store that Cell Phone. Turn off your phone before you drive so you won’t be enticed to use it while on the road. Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone or to send and receive text messages or emails.

– Secure Your Little Ones. Get the kids safely buckled in and positioned with snacks and entertainment before you start driving. If they need extra attention during the trip, pull off the road safely to care for them. Similarly, prepare and secure pets properly in your vehicle before hitting the road.

– Snacking. Eat meals and snacks before getting behind the wheel, or stop to eat and take a break if driving long distance.

– Get Comfortable. Adjust seat positions, climate controls, sound systems and other devices before you leave or while your vehicle is stopped. Make sure your headlights are spotless so you can see everything on the road and every other driver can see you better.
Stay Focused, People. Focus on the task at hand – driving safely. Inspect the road, use mirrors and concentrate on the road above everything or anything else that is happening in or around your vehicle.

– Take Advantage of the Available Technology. Sharpen your ability to respond quickly to risks on the road. The AAA Foundation instructs all drivers improve their reaction times and managing attention on the road by using DriveSharp, a computer program proven to improve reaction time and stopping distances. With quicker responses, you can avoid the distracted driver who might end up in your lane.

Staying completely off your cell phone is a wise move. You’ll always have ample time to use it when you’re safe and healthy at home, so be smart and don’t let your cell phone make you a dumb driver.

Sources: University of Utah, Safe.gov and AAA Foundation