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5 Tips to avoid distracted driving

The consequences of distracted driving can be disastrous. As a licensed driver, you have the responsibility of keeping yourself safe as well as other drivers sharing the road. Since we cannot anticipate the actions of other drivers, we must be even more cautious of our behavior while behind the wheel.

Taking your eyes off the road for even a second can mean the difference between avoiding an accident and causing an accident. Keep the following tips in mind to help you reach your destination safely and free of distraction:

1. Using a hands-free option for talking on the phone

As of 2014, Illinois state law has banned the use of hand-held phones while behind the wheel. You are only permitted to talk on the phone if you are using a hands-free option (i.e. bluetooth, headsets and speakerphone). In addition, Illinois prohibits any type of cellphone use if you are a novice driver or traveling through construction or school zones.

2. Don't text

Texting (or emailing) and driving is also banned in the state of Illinois; this includes opening an internet browser. Utilizing a GPS or navigation system, however, is permitted but it's suggested that you map your routes ahead of time to avoid any distractions.

Exceptions to this rule include:

  • Being parked on the shoulder of a roadway.
  • To report an emergency and any continuing communication with emergency personnel.
  • Your car is in neutral or park due to obstructed traffic issues.
  • Using a voice-activated or hands-free mode of texting.

No text (or email) is worth getting into an accident over, so it's best to just let it wait until you've reach your destination.

3. Don't try to multitask

The mirrors in your car are not for personal grooming. Accidents can happen in a split second, so the only reason for adjusting your mirrors should be to better see those around you.

4. Pull over to care for children

Children are unpredictable and can suddenly need your attention at any moment. Do your best to make sure any pressing needs are taken care of before you leave (feeding them, changing a diaper, giving them a pacifier, etc.). If you do find yourself in a situation where your children are in need of immediate attention, pull the car over in a safe place to ensure the safety of you and your kids.

5. Stopping to eat or drink

It can be very tempting to grab a quick bite to eat while en route, especially if you're in a hurry. Since an accident can happen in split second, it's always a better idea to eat before you leave or wait until you've reached your destination.

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