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Easy tips to avoid distracted driving

Paying attention to the road can be more difficult than it sounds. In fact, many people don't even realize that things they do every day -- setting the GPS, for instance, or eating behind the wheel -- count as distracted driving. Below are some easy tips to help avoid it.

First, put any loose items you have in storage compartments. Many people crash while trying to lean over and dig a cellphone or some other item out from under the seat. If it can't fall or roll there, it won't distract you.

Next, always be sure you eat before you leave the house. The drive-thru sounds convenient, but you're better off to go inside and eat. Even if it costs you 10 extra minutes, that's better than being in a wreck.

It's also important to make sure the car is fully ready to go before backing out of the driveway. Is the seat set at the right position? Are the mirrors how you want them? Did you already initiate the GPS directions? If you do this while you're still in park, you won't feel compelled to do it while driving.

Of course, the most important thing is to stay off your cellphone. Don't text, browse Facebook or take calls. Don't look at your phone at all. Just set it aside and tend to anything that happened when you arrive. No call or text is important enough to risk an accident.

If you've been injured in an accident with another distracted driver, or if you were hurt as a passenger in a car where the driver was distracted, you may be able to get financial compensation. Be sure that you look into your legal options to cover the costs.

Source: AAA, "Tips for Preventing Distracted Driving," accessed Nov. 09, 2016

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