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Do this to dramatically decrease your chances of a car crash

It should go without saying that the duty of every motorist -- to him or herself, family, passengers and others -- is to do everything to decrease the chances of being involved in a car crash. But how many drivers actually do this? Look around and you'll see people distracted by their phones, tailgating, speeding and making brainless decisions on the road.

To keep you and others safe -- and to avoid getting hurt -- here's the minimum you absolutely must do to avoid a vehicle crash:

Follow the rules of the road

The state of New York created specific driving rules and regulations for one primary purpose -- to keep you and others alive and injury-free. If every motorist followed the traffic rules, we could eliminate nearly all types of car crashes. In fact, fatal collisions would conceivably be rare.

Don't drive after drinking any amount of alcohol

You can still drive lawfully after drinking a tiny amount of alcohol. However, even a small amount can affect your decision-making and reaction time in subtle enough ways that you could get into a crash.

Don't drive while sleepy

Technically, you're not allowed to drive while you're fatigued, but there's no test for "fatigued driving" and motorists can get away with it. Make sure you're rested and alert when you drive. Fatigued driving could be just as bad as drunk driving.

Don't get distracted

Texting-while-driving is against the law, so it's covered by the first point on this list. But it's also your duty as a driver to stay focused alert and attentive. Don't get into conversations with passengers, don't rubberneck around to look at things or at people on the side of the road. Keep your focus on driving.

There's a lot more that will keep you safe on a New York road, but if you do the above things and you still get seriously hurt by a distracted motorist, learn more about your legal rights. You may have the ability to pursue a claim for damages.

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