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How to Spot – and Avoid – a Distracted Driver

How to Protect Yourself From Distracted Drivers

Each year, around 390,000 road users are injured in distracted driving accidents. Since distracted drivers are one of the leading causes of car accidents, it pays to be able to spot and avoid them. Here are some tips that can help you stay safe on the road.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving refers to anything that keeps a person from being able to focus on the road and their vehicle. Examples of distracted driving include:
  • Texting or talking on the phone
  • Adjusting the radio
  • Turning to talk to another person in the car
  • Looking for something in the glovebox
  • Trying to enter a new destination on the GPS
Some types of distracted driving, such as texting while driving, are illegal in Pennsylvania. Distracted driving can still be a legal liability even if the driver is not doing something that could get them arrested or fined. In cases where a distracted driver gets in a wreck with your vehicle, an Allentown personal injury attorney can help you sue them for the losses you have sustained.

Signs a Driver Is Distracted

In some cases, distracted driving is relatively easy to spot. If you glance over to the next lane and see a driver watching a video on their phone, they are most certainly distracted. However, some distractions can be more subtle. Some other potential warning signs of a distracted driver include:
  • The driver is going too fast and is not paying attention to the speed limit.
  • The car is going too slow and is not following the flow of traffic.
  • The driver is slowing down and then speeding up erratically.
  • The car is weaving back and forth and struggling to stay centered in its own lane.
  • The driver is changing lanes or turning abruptly without accommodating other vehicles around them.
  • The driver isn't signaling before making turns.
  • At stop signs or traffic lights, the driver remains stationary when it is their turn to go.

How to Safely Avoid Distracted Drivers

When you notice distracted driving, it's important to stay calm and avoid overreacting. Suddenly jerking your wheel or stomping on the gas can end up causing just as many issues as distracted driving. Instead, the best thing to do after noticing a distracted driver is to just carefully take action to avoid the vehicle. If it is safe, the best course of action is usually to pass the distracted driver. However, if the driver is going very fast, you might be better off falling back behind them. Another way to safely get away from a distracted driver is to turn onto a side road and choose to take a different route to your destination. Try to avoid getting too close to the distracted driver and keep an eye on them as long as they are within visual distance of you. Make sure to be prepared to suddenly brake or take other evasive actions if necessary. However, don't forget to pay close attention to the rest of the road too. You don't want to get so distracted by the distracted driver that you break traffic laws too.

Should You Confront a Distracted Driver?

Even though it's tempting, avoid engaging with the driver. Doing things like tailgating them or making gestures for them to focus on the road can just lead to more accidents or road rage incidents. Instead, the best course of action is to report a distracted driver. To do so, simply call 911 and tell them about the situation. Make sure you have a clear description of the driver's behavior and can tell the 911 operator what road you are on. It's also helpful to be able to give them the car's color, make, model, and license number. Have you been a victim of distracted driving? Metzger & Kleiner are here to help Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley residents file and seek proper compensation for the losses that they have sustained. For a free consultation with an Allentown personal injury attorney, call 215-567-6616 or fill out our contact form.

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