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In, out and all around: Danger lurks in the form distractions

Are you the type of person whose vehicle looks (and maybe smells) as brand new today as it did the day you actually bought it, which may have been several years ago? To the contrary, perhaps you would be the messy half of the Odd Couple, not caring about clutter or if last week's fast food lunch bag is still on the floor of your car. Whether clean as a whistle or messy as can be, your car may contain hazards in the form of potential distractions.

The lunch bag lying on the floor can become a major driving distraction if you suddenly decide the time to try to dig it out from under your seat is while you are driving down an Illinois highway at 70 miles per hour. Even inside a clean car, your entertainment system, GPS device, or light-up mirror (perfect for checking hair, beards or make-up) may cause you to glance away from the road long enough for disaster to occur, should you fail to avoid a collision because you not focused on driving.

Potential danger inside and outside a vehicle

As a responsible and safe driver, you no doubt try to remain alert and adhere to all traffic regulations. That may not be enough to save you from injury, however, if another motorist is distracted while driving. The following list shows a small sample of many types of distractions both inside and outside of a vehicle that can create danger for all travelers:

  • Grooming, smoking, adjusting radio knobs, eating or drinking and handing things to other vehicle occupants are all types of distraction that typically exist inside a vehicle.
  • Also inside a vehicle, many motorists get distracted by scrolling through play lists on iPods, texting while driving or trying to follow visual navigational instructions on GPS devices.
  • Distractions outside of a vehicle can be just as dangerous. A driver reading a roadside billboard is definitely not focused on the road ahead. The same goes for people gawking at accident scenes or other curious events unfolding outdoors, such as festivals nearby or groups of people gathered in a particular area, such as a parking lot or baseball park.
  • Fellow travelers in the same vehicle can cause driver distraction as well. If a driver is turning around or otherwise engaging with passengers, he or she may be preoccupied and not paying attention to driving or surrounding traffic.

You can avoid becoming a distracted driver by limiting your interaction with passengers while you drive, keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel and focusing your attention on the task at hand. You can't do much regarding another motorist's actions behind the wheel though.

If you suffer injury because a distracted driver crashes into our vehicle, you may suffer temporary or permanent disability. The emotional trauma of such situations is also a type of injury. Hopefully, you will achieve a swift and full recovery; as part of recovery, many Illinois accident victims pursue justice and compensation in court.

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