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Staying safe by driving without distractions

From smartphones and in-vehicle technology to everyday activities like eating and drinking, a driver can be distracted by a number of things while behind the wheel. Distracted driving crashes result in thousands of deaths every year in Arizona and across the U.S. with 3,166 fatalities reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2017. Avoiding distractions will reduce the risk for an accident.

The first thing drivers will want to strive for is zero phone use, even when the phone is a hands-free device. When they must call in an emergency, drivers should safely pull over before doing so. Next, drivers could consider limiting the number of passengers in their car to keep conversations from becoming too distracting. A third recommendation is to institute a no-eating policy in the car to prevent spills or arguments over food.

Drivers, especially those who work a night shift, should be vigilant against drowsiness on the road. Drowsiness can result in heavy eyelids, trouble focusing and a constant drifting out of one's lane. On long trips, drivers should switch off with a passenger, if possible, or take a 20-minute nap on the roadside. Lastly, parents of teen drivers must set a good example because teens see the highest car crash and fatality rates of any age group.

One should remember that distracted driving is a form of negligence, so it is not a matter of doing away with one or two distracting activities. Drivers must be attentive at all times; otherwise, they may cause a car crash through their own fault. As for the victims of such a crash, they may file a third-party insurance claim. There is a two-year statute of limitations in this state, so victims may want to consult with a lawyer once they have physically recovered.

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