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Start calling out your friends’ distracted driving habits

It’s not just looking down at phones that kills Tennessee teens. Distracted driving is a phrase that encompasses anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the roads. Even with the warnings plastered all over social media about the dangers of driving distracted, it seems like the messages still aren’t hitting home -- and not just for young adults.

Tennessee leads the nation in distracted driving collisions

Every six days a family in Tennessee will lose a teen ages 16 to 19 in a car crash between the end of Memorial Day and the start of school. Each year summer brings the highest number of teen deaths due to driving distracted. But, don’t forget, teens aren’t the only ones to blame. In Tennessee, the epidemic is year-round and affects people of all ages.

Tennessee has reported the highest number of crashes due to distracted driving in the nation, according to The National Safety Council. Even with these numbers, teens – and adults – continue to believe that it won’t happen to them. Sadly, all it takes is drifting out of the lane one time or going too fast to quickly change a person’s mind.

Help to hold other drivers accountable

Holding ourselves accountable isn’t always easy. We tend to give ourselves more leeway than we do with others. If you start to hold drivers more accountable as a passenger, you may just be able to hit the point home about the hazards of driving distracted. In turn, they can help to keep your own driving habits in check.

When advice or warnings come from people you love and trust, you will internalize what they’re saying. What if you killed one of your passengers? How would you feel? What would happen if you or another driver was seriously injured? How would your life change? Surprisingly, it can only take one comment from a passenger to change the way a driver views their habits and modifies their behavior.

What can you do if you’re with a distracted driver?

If your friend is on their phone changing the song, sending a text or checking the GPS, offer to assist them. Tell them you feel unsafe when they’re fixing their makeup while driving or whatever the case may be. Politely ask them to keep their eyes on the road. If they continue to drive distracted, you should ask them if you can exit the vehicle, if possible. Let them know that you take the issue seriously and it’s possible that they will begin to understand the consequences of their actions.

In the end, driving distracted isn’t worth it. Everything and everyone can wait. If you’ve been injured in a crash due to distracted driving, you may be entitled to compensation to aide with your recovery. Don’t roll the dice and help other motorists to think twice when they’re behind the wheel.

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