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Travel Tip: Don’t Be A Distracted Driver

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Even with sky-high gas prices, Americans are still planning to road trip this summer. But before you get behind the wheel, pay attention to these safety tips.

The Department of Transportation has issued new guidelines to prevent distracted driving. Why? Well, according to government studies, distracted driving claimed 3,000 lives in 2011 alone. And in 18 percent of distracted-driving accidents, a cell phone was involved.

Much of that has to do with drivers texting, reading emails and making calls on their smartphones while driving. Your best bet is to go with a hands-free option, like system that allows for voice-activated calls and text readers.

You’ve heard of Siri, the virtual assistant on the iPhone 5. But did you know that Blackberry and Android have a voice-recognition app called Vlingo, which also reads texts and makes voice-activated calls?

There are also third-party Bluetooth devices like the Parrot MiniKit and the BlueAnt S4. They attach to your visor and let you make hands-free calls, read your texts aloud, and they even have GPS.

The reason behind all this technology is simple—to keep your eyes off your smartphone and on the road. And that, boys and girls, is just plain smart.

For more information, visit the Driving and the Gadgets & Gear sections.

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