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Distracted driving causes deadly accidents

As you are probably already aware, for the past 18 months it has been illegal to use your cellphone when behind the wheel of a car unless you are using Bluetooth® or another type of hands-free technology. This also applies to sending and reading any text messages.

The Illinois Secretary of State has made it a top priority to promote a safe driving environment in the state. According to statistics, motorists are 23 times more prone to wrecking if they try to drive and talk or text at the same time. Additionally, nearly 20 percent of accidents stem from distracted driving.

The following tips can help you become a safer driver on Illinois roads:

-- When you need to make a call or send or read a text, pull to the side of the road before using your cellphone.

-- Don't get too involved in conversation with your passengers that you are distracted from the road.

-- Reduce your interaction with your passengers.

-- Drive with two hands on the steering wheel.

-- Focus your eyes on the road ahead.

-- Don't drive when tired.

-- Refrain from daydreaming behind the wheel.

-- On long trips, rotate drivers and take frequent rest stops where you get out of the car and walk around.

-- If upset or angry, don't drive.

-- Don't be a gawker when passing an accident scene.

As you can see, there is more to distracted driving than simply not using your phone behind the wheel. Almost any activity that engages the motorist other than driving can quickly become a deadly distraction. The three types of distractions are manual, visual and cognitive — taking your hands, eyes and mind off of the task at hand — driving safely.

Distracted drivers are a real risk to others' safety. If you have been seriously injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you may need to file a claim for damages through the Illinois civil court system.

Source: cyberdriveillinois.com, "Distracted Driver," accessed July 17, 2015

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