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How to avoid driving while distracted

Most people know that they shouldn't drive while intoxicated or sleepy. They probably also know that they shouldn't use their cell phones while driving, but many people still do. Distracted driving is a huge problem in many areas and costs people their lives each year.

All across the country, states have enacted laws to curb distracted driving, and California is no different. There are certain things people do behind the wheel that could lead to a car accident that the law may not cover. Here are some facts about distracted driving and some safety tips for you and your family.

Just how bad is distracted driving?

One survey found that nearly half of respondents said that texting while driving is a serious distraction, and more than half reported being in a collision, or narrowly avoiding one, with a driver using a cell phone. People know they shouldn't use their phones; however, 40% of respondents admitted to making an error behind the wheel while using their phone.

Experts estimate that using a cell phone while driving triples a driver's risk of a crash. Many people don't realize that it's partly because using a phone causes you to take your eyes off the road for too long. One estimate says that texting takes a driver's attention for an average of five seconds. If that driver is going 55 mph, he or she could drive the length of a football field without even looking.

Distracted driving isn't just phone usage

While phones are a big catalyst for distracted driving, they aren't the only cause. Here are several other distracted driving causes that everyone should avoid or minimize:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Using a GPS or Mp3 player
  • Personal grooming
  • Reading
  • Watching or creating videos
  • Talking with other passengers
  • Picking up a fallen object

How to be a safer phone user behind the wheel

Cell phones aren't going anywhere, so if you have to have one in your car, here are some safety suggestions:

  • Use a car mount for your phone, and never hold it while driving.
  • Don't text while driving.
  • Consider turning off your ringer and text notifications before driving.
  • If you have to use your phone, pull over.
  • Enlist your family and close friends and pledge to one another that you won't use your phone while driving and that you'll avoid calling or texting them if you know they're driving.
  • Save Facebook and other social media posts for when you're not driving.

Conclusion

Even with all these helpful suggestions, some people will still choose to drive distracted. Anyone who gets into an accident because of a distracted driver deserves to know their legal rights to pursue justice. You or someone you love shouldn't have to suffer because of someone else's carelessness.

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