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Not all distracted driving involves technology

When most people talk about distracted driving, they're referring to people using their phones to call or text someone while behind the wheel. Last year, Gov. Nathan Deal signed a law that prohibits drivers in Georgia from using electronic devices behind the wheel.

However, the law doesn't prohibit the use of hands-free technology, which is common in newer vehicles. Further, it doesn't address many other causes of distracted driving, which have nothing to do with talking on the phone, texting, taking photos or videos or checking social media.

For example, listening to music can be highly distracting. One of the great things about music is that it can take us to another place and time and simply consume us. That's fine if you're at home, but not if you're in the car. If you can't imagine driving in silence and listening to the news is upsetting, at least keep your music at a low volume.

Many people regularly eat and drink behind the wheel. It may be the only way you have time for breakfast or lunch. However, studies have shown that about two-thirds of "near-miss" (or more accurately, "near-hit" crashes involve drivers consuming food. It's best to take a few minutes to eat what you've picked up at the drive-thru before you get back on the road or save it until you've reached your destination.

Grooming is another cause of distracted driving. This is common among morning commuters who don't have time to put on their make-up or properly comb their hair at home. They often wait until they're stuck in traffic to finish their morning routine. However, even if you're sitting in traffic, you never know when it will start up again, or something unexpected will occur. Your eyes and hands should never be distracted.

Passengers can also cause distracted driving accidents. Parents of teens are often concerned about their kids having too many friends in the car. However, adults can be just as easily distracted by members of their carpool or by their kids. Drivers have to make driving their primary focus.

By avoiding these distractions, you'll be better able to avoid an accident with a negligent, reckless or distracted driver. However, if you are injured in a crash, find out what your options are for seeking compensation from the at-fault driver to cover your expenses and damages.

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