Ways to avoid distracted driving

Thousands of people die every year in Texas and across the U.S. in car crashes involving a distracted driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3,166 fatalities in 2017 alone. Drivers should understand that anything that takes their eyes off the road constitutes a distraction: using the phone, adjusting the radio, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, etc. The following are some ways to prevent distracted driving.

First is to limit the number of passengers in the car, thus keeping conversation to a minimum. On the other hand, drivers may benefit from having a passenger to help with using the navigation system or radio or with checking on traffic. Next, drivers should maintain a no-eating policy with themselves, family and friends.

All phone use should be avoided, and if there is an emergency, drivers should pull over before calling or sending their text. Even hands-free devices can be dangerous in that they lead drivers to miss important traffic signals. Parents of teens should make sure to enforce these rules on phone use, eating and passengers as well.

Lastly, drivers must be vigilant against drowsiness and pull over for a 20-minute nap as a last resort. Shift work, certain medications and sleep disorders can all contribute to drowsiness.

Distracted driving is a form of negligence, so anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident at the hands of a distracted driver may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Plaintiffs who are 50% or less at fault may be able to recover damages. Actually negotiating for a settlement, however, is another matter, so those who intend to file a claim may want a lawyer working for them. With a lawyer, victims may have access to a network of third parties like crash investigators and medical experts.

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