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Top 6 things not to do behind the wheel

Driving gets boring. You've been doing it for decades. You drive the same route almost every day.

You stop thinking of your car as a complex machine traveling at dangerous speeds on unpredictable roads. You start thinking of it as a boring place that you're trapped for 60 minutes per day as you commute to and from work.

As boredom sets in, maybe you look for ways to entertain yourself. Or perhaps you start feeling like you don't need to pay attention as you drive, so you might as well be productive. No matter the case, you start multitasking and distracting yourself behind the wheel.

It's very dangerous. These types of things lead to car accidents every day. Below are six things you should never do while you drive:

  1. Eat. The drive-thru is dangerous. Every second you spend looking down at your food is a second you're not looking at the road. Plus, with hot foods like chili or hot drinks like that morning coffee, a spill can send you out of control and cause a massive accident.
  2. Talk on the phone. Talking is a cognitive distraction, even if you're still looking at the road. You're thinking about the conversation, which means you process what's happening around you far more slowly.
  3. Talk to the kids. Children are one of the biggest distractions in the car. They're frequently yelling, talking, fighting or demanding snacks and entertainment. It's hard for parents to simply ignore them, of course, but turning around to talk to the kids or to discipline them is incredibly risky. If you have to do so, pull over first.
  4. Sing. You may love to sing with the radio, but it means you're paying attention to something other than driving. Getting too wrapped up in the music can make you miss important warning signs or events on the road, and you may even start driving faster when you really like a specific song.
  5. Get tired. People often ignore how tired they are and drive anyway. Sometimes, they feel like they don't have a choice; they have to get home. However, drowsy driving is very dangerous, and even drivers who don't fully doze off see reduced reaction times.
  6. Look at another accident. Often called "rubbernecking," slowing down to gawk at a crash can get awkward in a hurry if you inadvertently cause a secondary accident.

Of course, just knowing that it's dangerous doesn't mean you can avoid that danger. You can stay locked on for the entire drive and another distracted driver could run a red light and hit you two blocks from your house. When this happens, you need to know if you have a right to financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more.

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