We constantly hear about deathly diseases that endanger women. Heart disease. Breast cancer. Diabetes. Yet none of these are the number one cause of death for women under 35—surprisingly, the number one killer is car accidents. While thousands of women pass their driving tests every day, modern lifestyle puts us at a huge risk of getting into a car accident, and even worse, dying from one. So what’s to blame? Multitasking. The article “The Scary New Truth About Women and Driving,” in the January 2010 issue of Glamour, discusses how women behind the wheel can be easily distracted when they’re doing the seemingly simple things like texting, putting on makeup, changing the music and even reaching for their morning coffee.
According to a recent Glamourpoll, 80 percent of women say they’ve texted behind the wheel and 65 percent say they do it regularly or sometimes. And if you think taking a call through a headset or Bluetooth is safer, think again: Research shows that people process 50 percent less visual information like braking, stop lights and pedestrians while on the phone. The best way to prevent an accident is to turn your phone off completely before you get into the car. Think of it this way: If you’re already on your way to work or school, you’re going to have access to email soon anyway. Worst case scenario—if you miss a call, you’ll just have to call the person back.
If you like listening to music while you drive, create a playlist and adjust the settings before you start driving; doing this will keep your hands on the wheel at all times and prevent you from fidgeting with the car radio. If you usually eat while driving, try to choose a meal that doesn’t require using too much of your hands. If you have to constantly reach for a napkin when eating, then it’s probably not a good idea to consume it while driving. You’ll be a much safer driver if you eliminate these petty distractions. A text message is never worth putting your life—or others’—at risk.