Tennessee drivers: Beware of distracted driving behaviors

Tennessee roadways can be pretty scary places. Heavy traffic may be something you are used to, along with fast speeds and having to quickly react to any number of situations between your starting point and final destination. Then again, does anyone ever really fully adjust to stressful driving experiences? Like most good drivers, you can do your part to stay alert and adhere to all safety regulations and traffic laws, but there's not much you can do about another driver's behavior.  

If another driver is distracted at the wheel, you're the one who might suffer if that distraction causes a collision that results in your injury. In a perfect world, every driver would remain cautious, alert and diligent to keep himself or herself and all others nearby as safe as possible. We all know, however, that the world is not perfect, and many people make irresponsible choices while driving that cause others serious losses, some that are irreplaceable.  

Watch out for drivers who appear distracted 

If you are driving to work or have simply run out to take care of a few errands, you no doubt reasonably expect to arrive safely to wherever it is you are going. However, if another driver nearby is doing one or more of the following things, not only are you not safe, you might wind up suffering serious injury:  

  • Talking on a cell phone or texting
  • Taking his or her eyes off the road to adjust radio knobs
  • Reaching for an object inside the vehicle
  • Allowing a pet to sit in his or her lap behind the wheel
  • Engaging in too much interaction with passengers
  • Watching a scene that is unfolding on the side of the road
  • Eating or drinking
  • Smoking
  • Using rear view mirror for personal grooming 

These are noticeable behaviors. If you witness a motorist exhibiting such behavior while driving, you may be able to safely distance yourself from him or her. There are other types of distractions, however -- such as daydreaming -- which are virtually impossible to "see." There may be no way to know that a nearby driver is lost in thought and not aware of his or her surroundings. Such distractions often prove fatal.  

What you can do 

If you suspect that a particular driver is dealing with a distraction and is endangering travelers, you may be able to safely pull over somewhere and report the license number to local authorities. Collisions often occur quite suddenly, however, without you having any time to react and avoid a crash. If you suffer injury because another person was using a cell phone or otherwise distracted while driving, you may not be able to undo the emotional trauma or physical harm you have suffered, but you can seek financial recovery for your losses. 

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