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Do You Use Your Cell Phone Safely in the Car?

Although the majority of traffic accidents in the United States aren't linked to cellular phone use, it makes great sense to limit your conversations while driving a car anyway, and not only because of the destructive radiation these devices emit. In fact, driving while using a hands-free cellular phone can make you just as prone to accidents as handheld phones due to a lack of focus on the primary task at hand, according to a new study of 500 adult drivers.

The key factoid you need to know: Conversations in the car -- whether they're over the phone or in person -- are a distraction because they drain the average person's attention span. And, because people are aware they're balancing two important things at once, they tend to drive and react to road conditions more slowly too (you've probably seen people in their 20s with reaction times comparable to seniors out on the road).

People also tend to forget what they see on the road if they've been yakking it up on the phone, especially if the topics shared are emotional ones.

All that said, probably the best thing you can do for your health in regard to cellular phone -- besides wearing a headset equipped with a ferrite bead that protects your head from radiation -- is to minimize your use.

USA Today August 14, 2006

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