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Recognizing distracted driving in all its forms

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3,166 fatalities due to distracted driving in 2017. More and more drivers in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. are using smartphones and in-vehicle technology while on the road. While these are distracting activities, they are not the only examples. It's important to recognize distraction in some of its seemingly innocuous forms.

Eating, drinking and even conversing with passengers are all distracting. That's why drivers should consider setting up a no-eating policy that extends to friends and family. After all, everybody knows that eating in a car can be unsatisfactory and lead to complaints or spills, all of which may sidetrack drivers.

As for how to reduce conversations, it begins with limiting the number of passengers. On the other hand, having a passenger has its benefits. Drivers can have a passenger use the navigation system, change the radio station and do other things that they cannot do without putting everyone's safety at risk.

Since anything that causes inattention is a distraction, one could say that drowsy driving is a form of distracted driving. Adequate sleep is the only solution. Therefore, a tired driver may need to drink lots of coffee or pull over for a short nap if they are taking a long trip.

If a distracted driver causes an accident and the other side incurs a personal injury, there may be grounds for a claim. The negligence laws in Pennsylvania state that plaintiffs can recover damages if they are less to blame for the accident than the defendant. Dealing with the auto insurance company can be challenging, though, so a victim may want to retain legal representation. A lawyer can come in handy when negotiating a settlement or preparing a case for court.

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