If you follow the news at all, you know that distracted driving is an ongoing problem across the country, including right here in Montana. This behavior can be incredibly dangerous, too, given that those who take their eyes off the road for just a few seconds to check an email or send a text message can travel hundreds of yards without seeing anything outside of their vehicle. Far too often, this results in severe accidents that leave unsuspecting victims with catastrophic injuries.
If you’re like most people, you want to do everything you can to stay safe out there. But what can you do to protect yourself from distracted driving? Let’s look at some steps that you can take to be as defensive as possible and keep yourself safe:
- Give plenty of space: If you think that you’re near someone who is engaging in distracted driving, you want to make sure that you’re putting a significant amount of distance between you and that other driver. Increase the distance between you and that vehicle in front of you by several seconds or move an additional lane to the side of it. After all, distracted drivers are known to suddenly slam on the brakes or veer into other lanes, so by taking these evasive steps, you remove yourself from harm’s way.
- Be alert: You’re only going to be able to avoid a distracted driver if you’re able to recognize one before it’s too late. So, make sure that you’re attuned to how nearby motorists are acting. If they are driving too slowly, weaving in their lane or crossing into other lanes of traffic or consistently hitting the brakes too quickly, you need to implement defensive actions.
- Maintain an appropriate speed: You should always follow posted speed limits, but if you’re stuck near a distracted driver, you need to have even more control over your vehicle’s speed. Driving too quickly could put you in a position where slamming on the brakes in response to a distracted driver’s abrupt halt is insufficient. Go slow and be patient until you can find a way to distance yourself from that driver.
- Anticipate danger: If you want to protect yourself as fully as possible, you should expect other motorists to act in an erratic and unpredictable fashion. By taking this approach, you’ll find that you’ll more frequently position your vehicle so that it is less likely to be involved in an accident and you’ll be quicker to respond when danger arises.
- Double-check before driving through an intersection: Many distracted drivers run red lights and blow past stop signs. To avoid being taken by surprise in one of these instances, slow down and double-check that the intersection is clear and that cross traffic is stopping before proceeding.
Of course, if you believe that someone is driving in a distracted fashion, you should call the police. Even if you’re able to keep yourself safe, others may not be so lucky. A quick phone call to law enforcement may prevent a tragic accident from ruining an individual’s life.
Legal help is here when you need it
We hope that you never have to deal with the aftermath of a wreck caused by a distracted driver. But if you find yourself in that situation, you shouldn’t be afraid to turn to a legal professional for help. One of these advocates can help you analyze the circumstances leading up to your accident and assist with gathering evidence and crafting legal arguments to support a personal injury claim. Hopefully, you can find some accountability and recover the compensation that you need to spur your recovery and reclaim your life.