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Tips to prevent distracted driving in Michigan

April 17, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Accident attorney gives advice to prevent car crashes and keep drivers — especially teen drivers — safe

We’re halfway into Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As a Michigan accident attorney, I sometimes wonder if the message gets lost with the talk about legislation to stop distracted driving.

Yes, some legislation is clearly a good idea, such as with texting while driving. But what’s more important than passing new laws is that drivers take personal responsibility and make a commitment to not do things behind the wheel that are clearly dangerous.

Below is a list of tips that the lawyers here have designed to help drivers remain fully focused on the road. You can take this list and share it with your loved ones, especially if you have teen drivers in your family.

Did you know that traffic crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for teens? Although young drivers only represent 13 percent of all licensed drivers, they cause 28 percent of all car accidents and 24 percent of all fatal wrongful death crashes, according to the National Safety Council.

Prepare before your trip

Planning in advance really helps eliminate many common distractions. So try and do these things before you get in the car:

  • Eat.
  • Check your e-mail.
  • Make calls and texts.
  • Postpone emotional conversations with passengers or on the cell phone.
  • Know your route.
  • Finish your grooming routine.

Stay focused behind the wheel

Paying complete attention to driving is a lot easier than it sounds. Try and avoid the following behavior, and if you must do any of these tasks, pull over in a safe, well-lit area to talk on the phone, etc.

  • Limit interactions with your passengers.
  • Don’t talk on the cell phone (even hands free).
  • Don’t text.
  • Don’t take notes or surf the Internet.
  • Let a passenger control the radio or if you are alone, set your iPod to shuffle and don’t touch it.

Drive defensively

Just because you avoid texting while driving or different activities while you are behind the wheel doesn’t mean you’re avoiding distracted driving all together. Driving defensively is a huge part of avoiding auto accidents.

  • Know where your out is at all times and be prepared to use it.
  • Avoid gawking and car accidents on the side of the road.
  • Always check your rear view mirrors.
  • Stay alert to construction zones and changing traffic.
  • Allow enough time for other drivers to see your turn signal.

Again, the most important step in stopping distracted driving is making a commitment to yourself to avoid this dangerous behavior. And please, tell your teen drivers and your loved one not to text and drive. Spreading knowledge and awareness is the key to stopping this bad driving behavior before it becomes habit.

Steven Gursten is an accident attorney and head of Michigan Auto Law. He president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association. Steve frequently writes and speaks on distracted driving and Michigan auto laws, and is available for comment.

Related Information:

Distracted driving accidents: They can happen to you

What to do after a car accident in Michigan

Finding the right Michigan accident attorney

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Call (248) 353-7575 or to speak with one of our Michigan accident attorneys.

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