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Watching out for Distracted Drivers

Cell phones continue to become essential parts of everyone’s lives. There are more activities and ways to communicate with your friends and family than ever before. With an increase in usage comes an increase in risks they present on the road.

Texas recently passed a law that prohibits texting while driving. They hope that passing it will minimize the number of crashes and deaths caused by distracted driving. While it helps, it will not completely separate people from their phones or prevent other forms of distracted driving such as eating, drinking or applying makeup.

If you see signs that the driver near you is distracted, you need to act as soon as possible to avoid potential crashes. Here are some ways you can tell:

Intersection response

Intersections are one of the most popular distraction places because they offer the drivers a brief waiting period. Drivers could use the time to check their phones, take a bite out of their sandwich or adjust the air conditioner and radio.

If the driver takes more than a couple of seconds to respond to the light turning green, they likely were not keeping their eyes on the road. This is irritating for other drivers and often leads to impatient behavior from other waiting vehicles, such as rushing through a yellow light or running a red light.

Even after the light turns green, you shouldn’t trust them to refrain from their previous actions at further lights.

Poor braking

Distracted drivers often cut it close when they stop. Most do not notice when the person in front of them is slowing down or preparing to make a turn. They stomp on the brake at the last second and possibly swerve to avoid hitting the other car.

This is especially dangerous if there are other obstacles and traffic delays they did not expect. Their inconsistent speed and slow reactions can spell trouble for the other drivers ahead and behind them.

The front window

You should not be actively looking in every vehicle’s window, but occasionally you might see some strange activity in your rear-view mirror or corner of your eye. You might see cigarette smoke or a dog’s head coming out of the window.

You could also see other drivers checking their phones, eating, wearing headphones or turning their head to talk to the other passengers in plain sight. This is direct proof of distracted driving that should signal you to put a safe driving distance between you and the driver.

Even with the new law, distracted driving incidents are not decreasing. Keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior and respond accordingly to ensure the safety of yourself, your vehicle and any passengers with you.

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