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Impaired Driving Awareness: About More Than Alcohol, Drugs

The holiday season brings out the worst in driving behavior. Mix winter conditions with stressed out drivers - many of whom have been drinking alcohol - and you have a recipe for a bad accident.

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. Many wrongly believe it focuses solely on drinking and driving. Actually, impaired driving describes three dangerous behaviors by motorists:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drugged driving
  • Drunk driving

For most, December brings a full calendar. Plans with friends and family dominate our evenings, holidays and weekends, while many of us try to meet year-end or quarterly goals at our job. This busyness can tempt us to text-while-drive, or have one too many drinks to help us unwind. Every phone call, text message or drink greatly increases the risk of a crash.

Research shows that all of these behaviors are equally dangerous. A study has shown that talking-while-driving is the equivalent of driving with 0.08 blood alcohol content. Research published by Car and Driver Magazine revealed that texting-while-driving makes a motorist as likely to crash as someone driving drunk.

Making things more complicated, experts have explained that, for most, it is easier to avoid drunk driving than distracted driving. We are trained to answer and respond to the "ding" or "buzz" of a text message. It takes great self discipline to restrain oneself from sneaking a peek at their cellphone while driving. Psychologists explain that ignoring one's cellphone is virtually unnatural. We all know it is bad but it's so hard to resist the temptation.

Think about yourself, your family and other motorists before picking up your cellphone while driving. The best way to enjoy the holidays is to be safe and drama-free.

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