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Avoid distracted driving to avoid serious accidents

You may be careful never to drink and drive, but are you aware of other unsafe actions you might take on the road? Distracted driving is becoming a growing concern across the nation.

While distraction in general has always presented a risk for drivers, the rise of smartphones offers an additional, potent source of ever-present interruption. In a statement from the end of 2016, Alaskan state officials cited technology-based distraction as a factor in the sharp rise in the state's traffic fatalities.

Concerns about smartphones

Many drivers think sneaking a quick look at their phone will not do much harm. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking often leads to accidents. When you drive, you need to focus on your surroundings at all times. Conditions can change in a split second, and constant awareness can make all the difference as to whether you react in time to avert a crash.

The cost of a second

Hazards on the road can originate from a number of sources. Weather conditions, a road in disrepair or another motorist suddenly losing control of a vehicle are just some dangers to watch out for. However, if your mind is elsewhere, you are more likely to miss sudden unexpected events.

Strategies for safety

As smartphones present one of the more pervasive sources of distraction, smart drivers come up with ways to address this problem. You may want to place your phone completely out of reach to eliminate the temptation to pick up that possible important call or check a notification.

If you use your phone for directions, shut off your notifications and your ringer completely. Turning on voice directions can also help you avoid glancing at the map on the screen. For some, purchasing a separate GPS device may be the best way to stay away from smartphone distraction.

Decreasing the chances of distraction

To stay alert and safe, consider other likely sources of distraction as well. Are you traveling with small children? Set them up with snacks and entertainment within easy reach. Resolve to ignore arguments and complaints; turning around to arbitrate or retrieve fallen items can end in disaster. Also remember that eating, applying makeup or performing other physical tasks while driving not only distracts your mind but also takes away the physical resources you need to drive safely.

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