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Distracted driving accidents: It's more than just texting

Everyone knows they shouldn't text and drive, and many drivers feel too guilty to send text messages behind the wheel. But distracted driving can encompass many other dangerous behaviors, some of which don't involve a phone.

These are some of the most common forms of distracted driving. Are you guilty of one or more of them?

When mobile devices are involved

According to the Pew Research Center, about three quarters of Americans (and more than 90 percent of young adults aged 18-29) own a smartphone. Mobile device distractions cause accidents when:

  • A user is reading or sending email or instant messages while driving.
  • A driver is checking social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat -- or even posting photos or comments while operating a vehicle.
  • A motorist is talking on their phone, either with the device to their ear or while using a headset.
  • A driver is using a map app, getting voice directions or utilizing GPS navigation on their phone.

Distracted without a phone

Drivers can become dangerously distracted without the use of a smartphone. Common on-the-road distractions include:

  • Eating or drinking a beverage while operating a car or truck
  • Fixing one's hair, applying makeup or shaving while driving
  • Changing a CD or fumbling with the radio
  • Disciplining children in the back seat
  • Looking for papers or belongings in the glove compartment or on the passenger seat
  • Retrieving an object that fell on the floor or between seats

Understand the danger and protect your rights

Each year, thousands of serious accidents, including many fatalities, are caused by distracted drivers. It's important to understand how easy it is to injure or kill another person by not keeping your eyes on the road.

And it's crucial to protect your legal rights if you or someone in your family was hurt by a distracted driver. A knowledgeable attorney can answer your questions if an accident has occurred.

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