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5 ways to prevent distracted driving

Practically every motorist is guilty of distracted driving at one point or another. In fact, distracted driving is more common than you may think. Talking on your phone, eating meals, doing your makeup and even chatting with other passengers can be too distracting and lead to motor vehicle accidents. Learn how to reduce your distractions and drive more safely.

1. Put the phone away

Texting, tweeting or calling people while driving causes too many distractions for optimal safety. Even using hands-free technology can be too diverting when you're carrying on a social conversation. Using your phone can cause you to miss crucial audio and visual cues to avoid a crash.

If you're too tempted to use your phone while driving, try muting it so that you can't hear any notifications. Put it in the backseat or glove box if you still can't resist. Only use your phone in emergency situations. Even then, it's best to try and pull over to a safe spot first if possible.

2. Don't eat or drink

You might pull into a drive-through on a long trip and keep eating while driving. Maybe you frequently finish breakfast on your commute to work. While this may seem convenient, it makes you less attentive to circumstances around you. Spilling your food can especially cause major distractions.

3. Utilize your GPS

If you need directions to where you're going, map it out first. Take advantage of your GPS system while you're still parked. Even if you know the first half of your trip, you don't want to be fumbling with your GPS and looking at the screen while driving to figure out which exit to take.

4. Limit passengers and activity

Driving with a lot of friends can contribute to a risky driving environment that can increase your chances of an automobile accident. You may become too distracted by focusing on your passengers instead of the road and other cars around you. It's best to avoid driving with particularly rowdy groups.

5. Secure pets and children

Sometimes you can't avoid taking your kids or dogs along with you. If this is the case, make sure they are secure before you start driving. Of course, sometimes children and pets need your attention. Rather than reaching into the backseat, pull over to a safe place if needed.

You can only process a certain amount of information at a time. Driving demands as much of your attention as possible. If you're involved in a distracted driving accident, consult an attorney for guidance.

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