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Phones, food, fatigue and other driver distractions

Drivers in North Carolina and across the U.S. are encountering more and more distractions on the road. Smartphones and navigation systems are just the newest in a line of possible distractions. In fact, everyday activities like eating and talking can pose a danger to drivers as well.

Distracted driving raises the risk for a car crash. Many distracted driving crashes are fatal -- the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3,166 fatalities in 2017 because of them. The first thing drivers need to do is put away the phone. Even hands-free devices can take a driver's attention from important traffic signals.

Second, drivers may want to forbid all eating in the car because of the distractions it can cause. Since conversations with multiple passengers can become confusing and distracting, drivers should limit themselves to one or two passengers. If necessary, passengers can take on activities that would otherwise be distracting for the driver, such as changing radio stations or sending texts.

Drivers may also become inattentive through drowsiness. Factors include lack of sleep, sleep disorders and shift work. In addition, the National Sleep Foundation has reported extensively on the similar effects of fatigue and alcohol consumption, so drivers should beware of this. They should drink lots of coffee if they absolutely must drive while drowsy.

Even the safest of motorists could get in a car crash with a negligent driver. If a victim wants to file a personal injury claim, they may do well to hire a lawyer. With a lawyer speaking on their behalf at the negotiation table or in the courtroom, a plaintiff may recover a fair amount in damages.

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