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Are you doing everything you can to keep your commute safe?

Commuting to work can be stressful at some times and incredibly boring at other times. When you travel the same path over and over, you can easily become lax with safety. However, your extra time on the road may increase your risk of being involved in a collision.

Fortunately, there are several driving habits that can help you stay safe during your commute. While some safe driving habits may already be part of your routine, others may surprise you.

Get plenty of sleep

Being tired or sleep-deprived during your commute can put you and those around you in danger. If you are tired, you risk falling asleep at the wheel. Even if this does not occur, drowsiness can decrease your reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention, making you roughly three times more likely to be in a collision.

Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night is the best way to prevent drowsy driving. However, you should also avoid taking any medications before your commute that could make you drowsy.

Leave early

Speeding contributes to numerous collisions every year, and running late or getting stuck in traffic are common excuses for this risky behavior. However, speeding can make it difficult to avoid potential collisions, and when collisions do occur, they are likely to be more severe than if you had not been speeding.

Preparing for potential delays can help you avoid the temptation to speed. The best way to do this is to leave your house a little earlier, properly prepare for your exits, and listen to traffic reports, so you know what to expect.

Protect against sunlight

Commutes to and from work sometimes occur with the rising or setting sun. The harsh light from a rising or setting sun can shine directly into your eyes and limit your ability to properly see your surroundings. Glaring sun may also exaggerate streaks on your windshield or bounce off shiny surfaces inside or outside of your vehicle.

Although sunglasses are sometimes trivialized as a fashion statement, they can be an effective tool to help you avoid collisions caused by the sun’s glare. Try to also make good use of your car’s sun visor and maintain a clean windshield.

Avoid distractions

When most people think of driving distractions, they often think of cell phone use. However, there are plenty of other dangerous driving distractions that should be avoided. Anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or your mind off driving, diverts your attention from driving safely, which could prevent you from reacting appropriately to prevent potential collisions. 

Most driving distractions can be avoided with a little planning and self-control. If you are used to eating breakfast on the go, try to wake up a little earlier to eat at home. If you are regularly changing the radio station, consider creating your own playlist before you get into the car. If cell phone use is your primary vice, consider storing it out of reach before you begin your drive.

Commuting is necessary for many people, but collisions are usually preventable. By taking all possible precautions, you may be able to prevent many possible collisions. However, other drivers also have a responsibility to behave safely on the roadways. If another driver causes a collision that leaves you seriously injured, it may be appropriate to seek compensation for your medical expenses and other costs related to the injury.

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