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September 27, 2012 05:52 AM

Three Stages Of Driving

sioux falls, sd

How many times have you gotten behind the wheel of the car and couldn't remember how you got to your destination? The South Dakota Safety Council says that's a stage of driving more people experience without even realizing it.

With a new ordinance banning texting while driving going into effect in Sioux Falls Friday, the stages of driving are something you might want to be familiar with.

Driving is second nature for most people and many drivers don't think twice about what it takes to stop at a stop sign or allow a pedestrian to cross a road. But for beginner drivers, everything takes a little more of a thought process.

"You think about left turn signal, brake, accelerate; I mean you just have to think about it because it doesn't necessarily come naturally to you because you haven't been doing it," Diane Hall with the South Dakota Safety Council said.

That's the first stage of driving.

"That's what we call the cocooning stage, when everything is in the vehicle which, of course, is not a safe way to drive.  You don't want the focus inside your vehicle," Hall said.

Cocooning is a stage we all go through and can be very dangerous for everyone on the road. But according to the Safety Council, one of the worst stages can be the numb stage.

"As you practice you become well adept at the turn signals and often times you might find that you are looking at the shape of the sign and you don't really read it anymore. You slide into that numb stage is what we call it, where you know what you are doing because you do it everyday and your brain is not necessarily engaged," Hall said.

There is a middle ground when it comes to the driving stages, but it does take work especially with all of the distractions these days.

"I think that we get into the car and it’s an extension of your office.  It's, 'okay I have an hour drive. I can organize my day’s events.' That kind of thing because for 20 years I have driven the same route and it's a straight route nothing happens," Hall said.

Hall's best recommendation to stay out of the numb stage is to put all distractions away and make a conscious effort to focus on the road, because driving is the number one killer of those ages 3 to 31.

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