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Distracted driving is a serious problem on the roads

Drivers who are distracted pose a serious hazard to other people with whom they share the road. The prevalence of cellphones is one reason why the rate of distracted driving crashes has increased, but that isn't the only cause.

Keeping everyone on the road as safe as possible takes a joint effort among all drivers. Here are some points to remember about distracted driving:

Types of distractions

Anything that takes your focus off driving is a distraction. Talking to passengers in your vehicle, eating something, taking a sip from a drink, changing the radio station, using a navigation system, and using a phone are some common distractions. People who handle their personal grooming habits or put on makeup are also distracted.

A distraction doesn't have to take your eyes off the road. Getting lost in your thoughts can be one since your mind isn't focused on driving. Since driving takes visual, auditory, manual and cognitive focus, you have to ensure that you are giving it your full attention.

A stark example of the dangers

It is estimated that around 660,000 drivers use a cellphone while driving during daylight hours. In 2015, this led to 3,477 people being killed and 391,000 suffering injuries because of distracted driving accidents.

If a driver is traveling 55 miles per hour, he or she can go the length of a football field in only five seconds. On average, reading or sending a text takes five seconds. Drivers have to decide if that text is worth having an accident. You can imagine the number of hazards that you can encounter in this distance.

A special concern

Teen drivers are at an increased risk of causing a distracted driving crash. Parents need to make it a point to discuss the issue with their teens. They need to ensure that they are providing a good example by never texting and driving, or becoming distracted while behind the wheel. The Pennsylvania graduated driver's license program is another effort to combat teen distracted driving.

Victims of distracted driving crashes can suffer serious or even fatal injuries. This poses a financial burden on them since they have to pay for medical bills and might not be able to go back to work immediately after the accident. These individuals might decide to file a claim for compensation against the distracted driver as part of an effort to relieve some of the financial strain the victim is under.

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