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How can you avoid distractions behind the wheel?

It's very obvious to you that distracted driving is dangerous. Any time something pulls your mind away from the road -- a bright billboard, for instance, or a beautiful home for sale -- you know how it impacts your ability to process things around you. Intentional distractions like sending text messages, you're sure, are even worse.

So, how do you avoid them? Judging by the sheer amount of distracted driving accidents every year, that's easier said than done. Here are a few tips that may help:

  • Secure your dog. If you have to drive with a pet dog in the car, make sure it is strapped in or otherwise restrained. This keeps you and your pet safe.
  • Plan in advance. Try to do as much as you can before you leave your driveway behind. Pick a radio station, program your GPS and check your text messages one last time.
  • Turn your phone off. If you can't resist those notifications and you just know you're going to look at the screen, it may help to turn the phone off. Yes, it makes you feel disconnected, but just remember that people drove for decades before cell phones were even invented.
  • Take care of the necessities at home. Use the restroom. Eat your lunch. Drink your coffee. Put on your makeup. When you finally do get behind the wheel, you do not want to be thinking about anything but the road in front of you.

Can these tips keep you safe? They can help, but your safety also depends on other drivers. If one of them hits you and causes an injury, be sure you fully understand all of your legal options.

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