Stay alert for distracted drivers

It only takes one trip down I-35 to know that there are some crazy drivers in the Austin area. Some people drive too fast or too slowly, others weave in and out of traffic, and some won’t think twice about throwing what’s left of their fast food lunch at you over some perceived offense.

Between never-ending construction and frustrated drivers, the I-35 corridor is always a challenge. However, there is one driver that you can encounter in any part of the city, at any time of the day: the distracted driver.

Distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving due to the lack of focus and slower reaction times. Distractions can include cellphone use, talking with passengers in the car, screaming passengers, loose pets and even daydreaming. The big question is, how do you avoid these drivers? Like with other dangers on the road, staying alert can go a long way to keep you safe. Here are a few things to watch for that can help you avoid a collision with a distracted driver.

A driver holding a device

When you took driver’s education, the instructor probably stressed the importance of keeping both hands on the wheel. If you have been driving for many years, you may have bent this rule once or twice.

However, driving with one hand while simply relaxing the other arm is a lot different than holding a device with the free hand. If you see another driver holding a device, or really anything, with one hand, it is best to assume that this driver is distracted. The best thing you can do in such a situation is to put as much distance between your vehicle and the distracted driver.

Swerving, braking and long pauses

If a car that is traveling near you suddenly begins to swerve or brakes without any noticeable reason, this driver might be distracted. You might also witness other behaviors such as slowing down or speeding up but not with the flow of traffic. In addition, distracted drivers often spend too long at stop signs or traffic lights. Just like if you see a driver holding a device, keep your distance from vehicles that seem to be operating erratically.

By staying alert, you can increase your chances of avoiding a car accident with a distracted driver. However, sometimes it is not possible to dodge a negligent or reckless driver. If you have suffered injuries and other damages due to a car wreck, you might be able to file a claim for compensation.