As a Tennesse motorist, driving with vigilance and strict attention to the road may help reduce the risk of injuries resulting from a car accident. However, when accidents happen, Tennesse law uses comparative fault to determine which driver is most responsible for the wreck, and if you practice distracted driving, a judge may hold you responsible.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving habits, such as cell phone usage behind the wheel, caused the deaths of more than 3,000 people on U.S. roadways in 2019. You can avoid becoming a sad statistic and keep yourself and your passengers safe by changing your distracted driving habits.

Distracted driving actions

While texting and failing to use hands-free devices during phone calls are typically the most well-known distracted driving actions, there are others that may cause you to take your eyes off the road as well. Most involve you taking one hand off the wheel as well, increasing inattention to your surroundings, such as:

  • Adjusting your car stereo
  • Opening food or drinks
  • Chatting or arguing with passengers
  • Scolding children or pet passengers

Any of these actions could cause an accident if they cause you to drift into another lane, swerve or if you fail to notice traffic stopped in front of you.

Changing habits

While changing your driving habits may seem daunting, there are a few ways you can avoid distractions while behind the wheel. For example, set your phone to a hands-free option and pre-set your stereo before you put the car in drive. Secure children in car seats before you leave and use crates or other vehicle pet restraints when your pet is in the car. Keep the car interior volume low and remind your passengers that driving is a responsibility that you cannot take lightly.

Providing a good example by improving your driving habits may encourage your teen drivers to do the same. While some accidents are unavoidable, avoiding distracted driving can reduce the odds of injury and costly property damage.