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These simple tips can help you avoid distracted driving

When you step into your vehicle, it's easy to tell yourself you'll remain focused on the road no matter what. However, as you begin to drive, it's not out of the question to fall prey to one or more distraction.

Since a distraction increases the risk of an accident, it's imperative to avoid these at all costs.

Here are seven simple tips that can keep you safe:

  • Store your items. If it has the potential to distract you, store it before you put your car in drive. For example, put your cellphone in the center console and all maps in the glove box.
  • Make adjustments before driving. From your radio to your GPS to your mirrors, these adjustments should be made before you hit the road.
  • Don't groom on the go. This is a big problem during the morning hours, when many people attempt to brush their hair, apply makeup and even brush their teeth while driving.
  • Secure all children and pets. If you're constantly looking in the backseat, there's a greater chance you'll cause an accident. Fortunately, if you secure all children and pets before pulling away, you won't feel the need to turnaround while driving.
  • Don't let passengers distract you. The more passengers you have in your vehicle the greater chance there is that one or more of them will become a distraction. Let your passengers know that you need to pay attention to the road at all times.
  • Don't stare at outside objects and events. Even though you need to pay attention to everything going on around you, don't lose track of what you're doing by staring at an accident scene or attempting to see what a pedestrian is doing.
  • Pull over if necessary. If, for any reason, you're unable to focus 100 percent of your attention on driving, pull over and take care of the distraction. It's better to do this than to hope you can multi-task and get away with it.

These simple tips can help you avoid distracted driving, thus improving your safety. What they can't do, however, is control the behavior of other drivers.

If another person strikes your vehicle, perhaps because they are driving distracted, you need to move to safety and call 911. Depending on the cause of the crash, you may be able to take action to hold this person responsible for their negligent behavior.

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