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How can we prevent distracted driving accidents?

Driving is a standard part of many Texans' daily routines. Unfortunately, driving has become such a routine part of life that many people fail to treat it with the focus that it requires. Many serious accidents occur because drivers become distracted while behind the wheel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 391,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2015 alone. How can drivers boost their focus, and prevent distracted driving accidents?

Simple ways to limit distraction

Drivers are rushing between destinations, or are trying to multitask while driving. These practices lead to serious vehicle accidents, and have increased the number of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities in recent years. To reduce careless driving:

  • Put down your cell phone.Texting and driving is shown to increase a driver's chances of accident and injury. Your brain can only handle so many stimuli at one time. If you are texting, you are unable to pay full attention to the conditions of the road. Texting also takes your eyes off of the road, causing you to miss signs, lights, cars or pedestrians around you. Keep your phone in the back seat of the car or in your glove compartment until you are fully parked. Keeping your phone in the middle console may prove too tempting to ignore, especially if your phone buzzes or starts flashing.
  • Check your emotions at the car door. Heightened anger, sadness and even happiness distract drivers. You need to be fully present when you enter your car, and ready to focus on the road ahead. If you are thinking about your latest breakup, new promotion or fight with your brother you will not be able to give your full attention to the task at hand. If you experience a particularly intense situation, take a few minutes to regroup before you drive. Try taking a few deep breaths, and compartmentalize the news until you are parked.
  • Limit the number of gadgets in your car. If you ask drivers, most will say that they have recently used a GPS system or listened to the radio in their car. Every time you change radio stations, or glance down at your trip route, you take your mind and eyes off of the road. If possible, learn your route before starting your trip to minimize distraction. If you want to listen to music, preprogram your favorite stations into your car to limit the number of stations that you flip through. Or, keep one radio station constant until you are in a safe location to redirect your attention to the radio.

Every driver is responsible for paying attention, following traffic laws and doing their best to keep others safe. Making a few simple changes to your driving routine can greatly impact your safety and the safety of those around you.

If you are involved in an accident with a careless driver, consider contacting an attorney who can evaluate your case and determine whether you can pursue compensation for your losses.

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