Most North Dakota residents are familiar with the dangers of distracted driving, which is cited as a factor in many dangerous or fatal motor vehicle accidents.
While you may know that you should not drive while distracted, doing so is often harder than it seems. This can be especially true if you are traveling with children, pets or passengers who make it difficult to focus on the road.
There are many things you can do to prevent yourself from being a distracted driver and keeping everyone on the road around you safe.
Following these tips is important, because if you are in an accident with another driver, they could try to say that your distraction is what caused or contributed to the accident.
Prepare yourself and your vehicle
Do not get behind the wheel if there is anything that could potentially distract you. Check your vehicle for items that could get loose or roll around your vehicle while you are driving. Even if you know it can wait, you are probably going to be tempted to grab or move the item while still driving.
Being hungry or thirsty before you drive can increase your chances of being distracted, since eating or drinking are forms of distracted driving. Many people like having a water bottle with them when driving, which is fine, but it should be saved for serious situations, such as if you become stranded.
Put your phone away and take care of any tasks before you drive or plan to take care of them after your driver.
Aside from your phone, stay off any electronic devices when driving. This includes devices built into your vehicle, such as GPS or music systems.
Driving with your children or pets
Make sure any children and pets are properly secured before you start driving. This is not something that should ever be done once you are already on the road.
If you have children, there are undoubtedly going to be times that they play, yell or otherwise command your attention while you are driving. This is going to cause you to be distracted.
If you cannot calm them down or otherwise divert their attention to allow you to concentrate on driving, pull over and park somewhere safe to handle the issue.
Always pay attention
Practice proactive driving. When you are driving, focus only on that and pay attention to everything around you, including pedestrians and bicyclists.
Distracted driving is a form of negligent driving. Negligent drivers could be found liable in a personal injury action and be required to pay compensation to the other driver.
North Dakota negligence law states that if you are injured in an accident, your fault cannot be higher than the other driver’s or you will be prohibited from recovering any damages at all.
Additionally, the percentage of any damages you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of your own negligence.
Protecting your interests
This is why it is extremely important to drive safely and avoid distractions. Even proof that you were slightly distracted could reduce your overall compensation.
Having a personal injury attorney on your side after an accident can significantly help your chances of recovering compensation. Attorneys can develop a strategy designed to maximize the amount of compensation you recover.