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Commuters must be aware of distracted driving

Do you commute to and from work every day of the week? How about to and from school? What about another destination?

Regardless of your reason for travel and the details of your schedule, nothing changes the fact that you'll always be on the road with other drivers. We may tend to have our guards down and be on autopilot during our daily commutes but remember one thing: it only takes one mistake by another person to cause a serious accident.

As a driver, you never want to become distracted while you're behind the wheel. If you always pay attention to the road and other drivers, you're less likely to be involved in an accident.

Even if you're as careful as possible, there's no way to control other drivers. For example, the person behind you could be texting and driving, thus increasing the likelihood that you'll be struck from the rear.

There are three forms of distracted driving:

  • Cognitive distraction. This is when a driver is not focused on the road, but instead taking part in another activity, such as conversing with a passenger.
  • Visual distraction. As the name implies, this is when a driver is looking at something besides the road. An example of this would be somebody trying to read a map.
  • Manual distraction. This occurs when the driver takes his or her hand or hands off the wheel. Common forms of manual distraction include adjusting the radio or GPS system, texting or reaching for something.

All three of these forms of distracted driving can cause an accident. Texting and driving, in particular, is extremely dangerous. Here's why: it entails all three types of distractions.

Even though the dangers of distracted driving are well documented, many commuters try to multi-task while they are behind the wheel. They talk to passengers. They check their email. They text.

When a person engages in any type of distraction, even if only for a second, it greatly increases the chance of an accident.

As a commuter, do these two things to keep yourself safe:

  • Don't engage in distracted driving.
  • Keep your distance from those who are obviously distracted.

If you still find yourself involved in an accident, move your car to safety (if possible), call for an ambulance, and receive medical treatment. From there, you can learn more about the cause of the accident. This will lead you toward your options for seeking compensation from the negligent party.

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