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Some no-nonsense tips for safe driving

Safe driving involves more than just consciously following the traffic laws. There are also other well-publicized common sense behaviors that also need observed. These include don't drink alcohol over the legal limit and drive, get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel, don't talk on the phone or text or otherwise allow your device to distract you, and don't eat while driving.

But in an article about the dangers of driving when sleep deprived at the AAA's website, it also offered up some tips on how to generally stay alert while driving longer distances. These can also be helpful for New Yorkers, ensuring that you and your passengers arrive at your destination safely, be it a cross-town commute from Staten Island to City Island or a cross-country trek.

Travel at times when normally awake
As anyone who has experienced jetlag can tell you, our bodies have a schedule and it's difficult to alter it. Coffee may seem like a good idea, but exhaustion with your eyes open is still exhaustion.

Schedule a break every 100 miles or two hours
It's tempting to "make time" if you are driving long distances, or to simply trying to ride out an extended traffic jam, but the monotony of sitting in a vehicle for extended periods of time challenges one's attention span.

Avoid heavy foods
Duh, right? Resist the temptation of heavy foods when you do the drive through - while that ½-pound burger sounds great in theory, it is not the answer for alert decision making on the road.

Have a good co-pilot
An important part of safe driving is often a good CP. Co-pilots can help read signs, navigate routes, police the back seat full of kids, keep the driver alert, and even play DJ.

Be mindful of the medication you take
Don't drive if your medication makes you drowsy or otherwise impairs your decision-making process.

Symptoms of inattentive driving are easy to spot in other drivers around you -- they may wander in or out of their lane or sit at a stop-light after it turns green. Drivers can see it themselves as well if they miss turns or find themselves not paying attention.

Local roads are hard enough to drive with all traffic we have here, which makes it all the more necessary to give driving your fullest attention. If you are in a crash where you feel the other driver may have been distracted, tired or just plain negligent, it might be a good idea to consult an attorney experienced in personal injury here in New York. They can review the case and see if additional compensation could be forthcoming.

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