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How to avoid being a distracted driver

With the holidays starting, many Florida drivers will spend more time on the road-driving to holiday parties, going shopping for presents and visiting their families. With all the preparations going on, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and like you will never get it all done.

No matter how many things you have going on, you must remember distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 400,000 distracted driving crashes in 2015, and 3,450 died in distracted driving accidents in 2016. Here are some tips to help you focus on the road and avoid getting into a distracted driving accident.

Consider turning off your phone

Many people rarely, if ever, turn off their cellphones. The smart devices sit on desks at work, in pockets or purses and on bedside tables. Always having your phone on means it is a constant distraction. You hear it ring, vibrate or buzz every time you get a text, call or email. The easiest way to avoid the disturbance while driving is to turn it off. You can return a text or a call when you stop for gas, or when you arrive at your destination.

There's an app for that

There are also multiple apps that prevent you from being able to text or receive calls when you are driving. Many of these apps automatically kick in when your vehicle hits a certain speed, and then shut off when you are no longer in motion. Some apps also allow you to use hands-free controls to reply to text messages or play music. Other apps even reward you with points, when you do not text while driving. The points can be redeemed at certain stores.

Try to avoid hands-free texting or calls too

Though many smartphones or apps allow you to message or call with hands-free technology, these behaviors can still be pretty distracting. Talking places your focus on something other than the road in front of you. Try to avoid it whenever possible.

Get help from your passengers

Though having passengers in the car can also be a distraction, sometimes, you need to bring passengers with you. Passengers can also help you. If you have a question about the route ahead or want to reply to a text, ask your passengers to do that for you. It will put your mind at ease, so you can focus on driving.

Organize everything before you leave

If you are going on a long car trip, set up your GPS before you start your car. Or maybe you will need money for tolls. Get that money out of your wallet and place it with easy reach. Take your coffee and place it in the closest cup holder available. Having everything within reach will keep you from having to take your eyes off the road to look for something.

Give yourself a break

The holidays may have you feeling rushed, frazzled and like you have no time to yourself. Your time behind the wheel could give you a little break in your day. Consider turning off your music, and just sitting in absolute quiet. It will give you time to slow down and just think about driving. This can be incredibly relaxing after running around, trying to get a hundred things done at once.

The holidays are a stressful time for many people. However, you must not let that frustration spill over and put you at risk while driving. Use the time to turn off your phone and let yourself focus on just one thing-the road ahead of you.

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Moody, Salzman, Lash & Locigno, Attorneys & Counselors at Law

Moody, Salzman, Lash & Locigno, Attorneys & Counselors at Law
2770 NW 43rd Street
Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32606-7419

Phone: 352-559-8019
Fax: 352-377-2861
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