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But it’s so incredibly tempting to try to sneak in that tiny little text message while you’re stopped at a light, then keep going once the light turns green. It won’t hurt anything if you just hit “send” once it’s all typed out, right? It just takes a fraction of a second.

Once and for all, WRONG. Driver distractions like texting play a role in one out of every four motor vehicle crashes. The fraction of a second that you’re looking at your phone instead of the road could be the same fraction of a second you have to react to a sudden road hazard. We’re not just talking about fender-benders, either. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that distracted driving is involved in a full 16% of fatal crashes.

Distracted driving doesn’t just mean texting, although texting is a huge problem these days, especially for teen drivers. Changing radio stations or iPod selections, glancing at movies playing in the car, talking on the phone and even turning around to talk to kids in the back seat can prove deadly. For your safety, and for the safety of everyone else in the car, make your cell phone off-limits when you’re driving. Your life is worth more than a text message. Other people can wait.

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