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Distracted driving is much more than texting and driving

Driving is a task that requires a great deal of mental, visual and physical attention. Drivers in Illinois must be on the lookout for other motorists, traffic signs and signals and posted speed limits. Unfortunately a lack of awareness -- i.e. distracted driving -- can lead to serious car accidents.

When one thinks of distracted driving, the first thing they may think of is a person talking on a cell phone or texting and driving. And while these are two common types of distracted driving, there are others. For example, many people eat or drink while driving and do not realize that such behaviors can distract them from the road. Talking to passengers, combing your hair or putting on makeup are also distracting behaviors.

In addition, while the use of GPS navigation systems have made getting from here to there easier, they can also cause a distraction. Reading -- even if it is a map you are reading -- can also be a distraction. Moreover, tuning on the radio or your MP3 player can take your eyes off the road, even if it is only for a few seconds.

In the end, any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road and off the task of driving is distracted driving. Distracted driving poses a danger to the driver, occupants of the driver's vehicle and occupants of other vehicles. In fact, according to one report, over 3,000 people died and over 430,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents in 2014.

Distracted driving is a danger, but it can be prevented by simply keeping focused on the task of driving. Pull over if you need to read a map. Wait until you get to your destination before having a bite to eat. Decide what music you want to listen to before hitting the road. And most of all, wait to make that phone call or send that text until you have stopped driving. Keep in mind that distracted driving in general may be considered negligent behavior. If a driver causes such an accident, he or she may be liable for the accident victim's damages.

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