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Tips for staying safe on the road

Illinois drivers who want to avoid traffic accidents as much as possible will want to consider some of the following safety tips. Safe driving starts with giving full attention to the road; this means no distracting activities like calling, texting, adjusting the radio, eating or reaching down to pick up fallen items. Children should be securely buckled up so that they, too, do not create distractions.

Unsafe practices like speeding, drunk driving and drowsy driving are to be completely avoided. Even "buzzed" driving impairs one's decision-making abilities and reaction times. Speeding is risky because it gives drivers less time to brake or make other emergency maneuvers. Drowsiness can affect drivers in much the same way as alcohol.

Being defensive is key. Drivers should maintain a 2-second gap with the vehicle in front, doubling it in bad weather, and they should keep away from other drivers who seem distracted. This will become obvious if a fellow motorist won't maintain one constant speed or one lane.

In addition, safe drivers must secure all cargo that might move around. Before heading out, they should have a plan that takes into account any food and rest breaks, potential phone calls and other business. In winter, drivers should get in the habit of checking weather reports, and they should use caution around iced-over areas.

If a negligent driver causes an accident, the crash victim may be able to file for damages. If successful, the plaintiff can be compensated for vehicle repair costs, medical expenses past and future, lost income and more. It might be a good idea, however, to retain a lawyer since auto insurance companies are aggressive in denying claims.

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