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What every driver should know to stay safe

Drivers in New York should be attentive to the road, be defensive against the unsafe maneuvers of other drivers, operate under a safe driving plan and ensure safe driving practices at all times. These are the top four tips given by Nationwide for reducing the risk of accidents.

Being attentive means not becoming distracted by electronic devices or even by conversations inside the vehicle. It also means not speeding because this can shorten a driver's time to react against emergency situations. Keeping a two-second gap with the car in front and checking blind spots before changing lanes are two instances of defensive driving. In a safe driving plan, drivers should take into account rest breaks and other stops and make sure their mirrors, seat and climate control are adjusted.

To be safe, drivers must wear their seat belts at all times, secure any cargo that might move inside the vehicle and avoid anything that will impair their judgment and reaction times. This includes avoiding drowsiness and alcohol because even "buzzed driving" is impaired driving. Seven or more hours of sleep a night is recommended. Extra caution is recommended during deer season and winter. In winter, drivers should be cautious around shaded areas where ice may develop, and they need to keep an emergency kit handy.

Since New York operates under the rule of pure comparative negligence, anyone who gets in a motor vehicle accident can file for damages, but the degree to which he or she contributed to it will lower the potential amount that the other's auto insurance company pays. Victims may want a lawyer to assess their case for its viability; if there are good grounds, the lawyer might hire investigators and medical experts to strengthen the claim. Victims may choose to leave negotiations to their lawyer and litigate as a last resort.

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