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Distracted driving includes more than just texting

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that there were 3,166 traffic fatalities related to distracted driving in 2017. In addition to texting while behind the wheel, distracted driving includes activities like eating, grooming, adjusting navigation systems, changing radio stations, talking and anything else that takes attention away from the road. There are a few things Connecticut motorists should keep in mind to avoid this.

The first is to turn off any cellphones or switch them to do not disturb mode. It is important never to use a cellphone while driving. In an emergency, the best course is to pull the vehicle to the side of the road before sending a text message or making a phone call. Even using hands-free technology can divide the driver's attention.

Drivers should also limit the number of passengers they carry. The more activity going on inside the vehicle, the more likely the driver is to be distracted. It's a good idea to ask passengers to keep the noise down and to ask them to help with changing navigation and radio controls.

Another thing to keep in mind is not to drive while drowsy. The National Sleep Foundation has said that drowsiness and alcohol consumption have similar effects on drivers, increasing response time and potentially leading to accidents. Drowsy driving might be caused by certain medications, sleep deprivation, shift work, or untreated sleep disorders.

People who have been injured in car accidents that have been caused by distracted drivers often need extensive and costly medical treatment. They might find it advisable to have legal assistance when seeking compensation from the at-fault motorist for these and other losses.

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