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Beware the distracted drivers on Tennessee roadways

If you're a baby boomer or older, you might recall a time in your past when it was customary to go for Sunday drives or leisurely excursions, "just because." People rarely do such things anymore and one of the reasons might be that it is highly dangerous to navigate Tennessee highways. Nowadays more traffic, faster speed limits and many distracted drivers pose great risk to everyone on the road.

Perhaps you still enjoy drives in the countryside from time to time. You may also commute to work or drive your kids to sporting events and other activities. Not many people go through life without driving. That's why it's a good idea to practice safe driving habits and to be alert so that you can spot potential trouble if a distracted driver happens to be nearby. Distracted driving accidents often result in severe injuries, and if someone hits you, you may be in for a long, arduous recovery.

Things distracted drivers often do

It's not always possible to tell if a driver is distracted. When you learned to drive, you were likely taught to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times. The following list shows numerous ways in which drivers fail to do so, as well as other issues that suggest they might be distracted:

  • A driver may be visually distracted if he or she is gazing at a roadside scene instead of the road ahead. If you notice a driver looking down at a cell phone or turning around toward the back seat, he or she is definitely distracted.
  • It is safest to keep both hands on the wheel when you drive. If a driver is adjusting radio knobs, eating a burger, lighting a cigarette or applying cosmetics while looking in a rear view mirror, he or she is at great risk for causing a collision.
  • Daydreaming is one of the most common forms of driving distraction. Many distracted drivers who speak with investigators after collisions say they were lost in thought or never even saw the other vehicle before they crashed.
  • Texting and driving is like driving blindfolded. Even though there are traffic laws against it in most states, many drivers do not adhere to them.

You can control your own driving behavior but you can't do much about another motorist's choices or actions. Can you tell if someone is daydreaming? If you notice a car that is weaving from side to side, traveling at speeds far under the posted limit or veering off the shoulder of the road, it might mean the driver is lost in thought or is otherwise distracted.

What to do if a collision occurs

If a distracted driver hits you, the greatest priority is to obtain medical attention. Even minor injuries can have long-lasting consequences. You'll want to document the accident in as much detail as you can remember. It's also good to speak with anyone who witnessed the incident if possible. Such situations often lead to litigation, because Tennessee law allows a recovering accident victim to seek monetary judgment against the person believed to have caused his or her injuries.

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