Louisiana ranked worst state for distracted drivers - FOX29 Lake Charles

Louisiana ranked worst state for distracted drivers

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(Source: KPLC) (Source: KPLC)

Thousands of people die every year due to distracted driving - many of them are teenagers.

According to local driving instructor Stafford Jones, there are three types of distracted driving.

"Visual, manual, cognitive. Visual is when you take your eyes off the road; manual is taking your hands off the wheel, and cognitive is taking your mind off what you're doing on the road," Jones said.

A big distraction while driving is the cell phone.

Parents are the first people to tell us to put them down while driving.

Bobby Hodgens said, "The number one person to call a teen on their cell phone is their mom or dad and they'll tell them never answer your cell phone."

If you notice a distracted driver on the road, you need to practice defensive driving.

So recognizing when someone isn't paying attention is crucial to staying safe.

"You'll weave; if someone is on their cell phone, they can't hold their car straight because they're looking at their phone; they're not looking at where they're going; your eyes should always be on the road a block to two blocks ahead of you," said Hodgens.

In addition to recognizing other people who are distracted drivers, there are ways you can keep yourself and your children in line.

A free app called Drivemode can keep your phone from going off while you're driving. 

You can set automated replies for people who try contacting you while you're behind the wheel. Parents can set special guidelines on their children's phones to ensure they stay off them while driving.

Hodgens said, "Whenever you're behind the wheel, your mind should be totally on what you're doing, especially with the traffic we have here in Lake Charles now."

Hodgens said even voice to text is dangerous when behind the wheel because you're focused on the text and not the road.

If you think you can get away with that quick text at a red light, Hodgens said to keep the phone in the glove box and don't touch it until you're safely at your destination.

For more on defensive driving, click HERE.

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