If you feel like you’re seeing more people driving distracted, you’re not alone. A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that nearly 88 percent of drivers believe distracted  driving is worse than it was three years ago, with nearly 50 percent reporting that they regularly see drivers emailing or texting while driving. Meanwhile, the risks remain. A previous AAA foundation study found that drivers who talk on their cellphones are four times more likely to be involved in a crash – and those who text while driving are eight times as likely to do so.

Warning Signs

While you can’t control the actions of other motorists, knowing the warning signs to spot a distracted driver can help you avoid a crash or possibly minimize the severity of an accident:
• Drifting or swerving from lane;
• Weaving through traffic;
• Following too closely;
• Sudden braking in reaction to normal traffic stops;
• Running red lights or stop signs;
• Stopping longer than necessary at a traffic light or sign;
• Driving much slower than the speed limit or flow of traffic;
• Driving much faster than the speed limit or flow of traffic;
• Needlessly changing speed.

Stay In Control

You’re less likely to be caught off guard if you remain aware of other drivers around you. Keep your eyes moving, check your mirrors frequently and scan conditions at least 20 to 30 seconds ahead
of you. If you witness any of the above behaviors from a driver with whom you’re sharing the road or if you spot another driver texting; talking on a cell phone; grooming themselves; reading a map; talking to passengers; reaching for something in the vehicle; smoking; or adjusting vehicle controls:
• Be mindful that the driver may not see your vehicle;
• Give the driver a wide berth;
• Try to pull ahead of the driver, or slow down and let them pull ahead;
• Call 911 and report your concerns, if a driver is operating so dangerously that he/she poses an imminent threat to others.

Distracted drivers put not only themselves at risk, but everyone else on the road. By staying alert for distracted drivers and using proper defensive driving skills, you can help avoid the dangers
caused by other motorists’ poor decisions.

Article borrowed from Lancer Insurance Safety Bulletin March 2018