Distracted Driving and You: 3 Things You Need to Know

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Before you get behind the wheel, make sure you're free from distractions. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle collisions in the United States. Additionally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people are killed each year as a result of distracted driving. Distracted driving may include, but is not limited to, texting and talking on cell phones. Understand that anyone can become distracted while driving. This is sometimes considered to be a problem that affects teens or young drivers; however, even adults and experienced drivers may become distracted. Are you looking for ways to prevent collisions and accidents? There are three things you need to know.

1. Look at the road

While it probably seems like common sense, it's important to keep your eyes on the road while you're driving. Not only do you need to pay attention to where you're going, but you need to be aware of other vehicles, as well. Remember that distracted driving isn't an issue that only affects the people within your vehicle. If another driver is distracted, they could swerve into your lane or make a poor judgement call. You need to be ready to drive defensively if necessary. Make sure your mirrors are appropriately adjusted and that you're paying attention to vehicles both behind and in front of you.

2. Think about where you're going

If you're feeling stressed, anxious, or tired, you might find it hard to focus on the road or on your destination. Make sure you're emotionally and mentally paying attention to the road while you drive. Cognitive distractions can be quite dangerous when you're traveling, so take a deep breath and try to focus on the road before you. If it's too difficult to focus on driving, or you're feeling very tired, stay off the road until you're in a better head-space. Remember that you can ask a friend to drive you or even use a ride-share program or taxi to reach your destination. When you're driving, you need to be thinking about the road. This can help reduce accidents and prevent distracted driving injuries from occurring.

3. Keep your hands on the wheel

Don't eat, smoke cigarettes, or try to style your hair while you're driving. These are all dangerous habits that can contribute to motor vehicle accidents. Make sure you keep both of your hands firmly planted on the wheel when you're driving so you can maintain full control of your vehicle. Even doing something "quickly," such as applying makeup at an intersection or reaching into the backseat for a dropped item can have deadly results, so make sure you stay focused and wait until you're parked before you do other activities in your car.

If you have been the victim of a driving accident that was caused by another distracted driver, make sure you speak with an attorney. Bring a copy of the police report, as well as any other details you have about the accident, so you can discuss this with an experienced personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will analyze the situation and let you know what your next steps need to be.