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How to spot a distracted driver and the steps to take

The dangers of distracted driving are real, so it's important that you always pay close attention to the road and vehicles around you. Remaining alert at all times will go a long way in keeping you safe, even when other drivers aren't taking as much caution.

Knowing how to spot a distracted driver can help you avoid trouble, so keep an eye out for these warning signs:

  • Sudden braking: If a person brakes suddenly, there's a chance that they weren't paying attention to the road. Also, if you're on the highway and see someone riding their brake, it's possible that they're not fully alert.
  • Drifting out of their lane: Distracted drivers often drift from their lane of travel. Some people catch themselves before crossing the lane line, while others make it way too far before they recognize what's happening.
  • Slow reaction at traffic signals: Many drivers are in the habit of using their phone at traffic signals, since their vehicle is stopped. If a driver delays in pulling away after the light turns green, they probably aren't watching the road.
  • The use of headphones: This is an easier one to spot, as you may be able to see something in the driver's ears. It doesn't matter if they're listening to music, an audio book or talking on the phone, it's a distraction nonetheless.

What can you do?

If you spot a distracted driver, the most important thing you can do is keep your distance. The closer you are to this person, the greater chance there is that you'll be involved in an accident.

From there, make note of the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the color and license plate number. You can then pull over, call 911 and let the dispatcher know your location and what you witnessed. They can then decide if it's a good idea to dispatch police to the area.

If you're injured in an accident with a distracted driver, administer first-aid until paramedics arrive. Once you receive initial treatment at a hospital, work with your medical team to take the steps necessary to make a full recovery.

As your health allows, review the police report and contact your insurance company to file a claim. Doing these things will move you closer toward holding the negligent driver responsible for their actions.

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