Being in the automotive industry like we are at Rick Stroud Auto Inc., here in the St Petersburg area, we have seen our fair share of what can happen when a driver becomes distracted. Driving smart and defensively is a must for any road situation because you never know when something is going to come barreling at you like a piece of construction material blowing off the back of a semi.

Texting has become a major distraction that takes one’s mind off the road and to that end here is an article with some good advice that I found today:

(NAPSI)-The urge to text while driving has become a commonplace in the United States. In fact, more than 25 states have signed or implemented texting-while-driving laws. That’s good news, since a distraction of any type–whether you are taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your mind off your driving–can have very serious consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as recently as 2008, nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured.

Although the spotlight’s on cell phones and texting, distracted driving encompasses many other activities–from tuning the radio, eating, putting on makeup, reading, looking for something on the floor or in the glove box, and talking or refereeing disagreements in the car. You can do a number of things to break the habit and cut down on your own distracted driving incidents, such as:

• Be prepared before you start your car–If you put on makeup, eat, or program your GPS before you hit the road, you’ll cut down on some distractions. If you organize what you need for your final destination before you leave, you won’t need to search while driving.

• Go hands free–If you must use the cell phone when driving, invest in technology that will help you keep your eyes on the road. Several installation-free kits are available that can help you go hands free for less than the cost of a ticket.

• Take a break–Even with a hands-free device, the best idea is to pull over if you must make calls, answer texts or deal with issues involving other passengers.

One way to go hands free is the Parrot Minikit Slim. The speakerphone clips onto your car’s sun visor, and once paired via Bluetooth with your mobile device, it automatically downloads your contact list. Using voice commands, it can dial up anyone in your phonebook and can be turned off and on with the push of one button.

In addition to portable options, another way to go hands free is with an installed product such as the Parrot MKi9200. Installed products are fully integrated into the vehicle’s existing stereo system so phone calls can be heard with the same sound quality as music. In addition, music players such as iPods can be played through the vehicle stereo system via an installed solution.

To learn more, visit the website at www.parrot.com.