Car accidents remain a leading cause of preventable injuries in the U.S., and especially in Southern California where traveling by car is a near necessity for many. While wrecks can happen for any number of reasons, they often result from negligence, errors, and carelessness – all of which can be avoided.
Because car accidents are largely preventable, it becomes the responsibility of motorists to uphold their legal duty of taking reasonable steps to safely operate their vehicles – whether they be your average everyday driver, a motorcyclist, or the driver of a truck or commercial vehicle. Having represented numerous auto accident victims across the Antelope Valley and surrounding communities, our legal team at Accident Attorneys knows that by making safety a priority, motorists can prevent many of the tragic accidents and injuries we see.
To help you do your part in making our roads and highways safer places for everyone – including yourself and your loved ones – we have put together a list of simple tips and things to remember.
- Avoid distractions – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has cited driver distraction as a leading factor behind a recent surge in roadway fatalities nationwide. This is due in large part to drivers who choose to text or use cell phones behind the wheel. Not only is this against the law in California, it is a dangerous form of multi-tasking that can increase crash risks by more than 20x, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Do your part by putting down your phone and waiting until you are off the road to text, place a call, or send an e-mail from your phone. You should also remember that hands-free does not mean risk-free, and that other forms of distraction – including eating and drinking, grooming, and adjusting vehicle features – can also increase crash risks.
- Drive sober – Alcohol and drugs cause hundreds of thousands of preventable accidents every year. Not only is driving under the influence grounds for criminal charges and severe penalties, it can also lead to civil liability when impaired drivers injure innocent victims. As a motorist, it is a violation of your legal duty to drive impaired, which is why you should always take steps to avoid it. This includes planning a sober ride, using a ride share service like Uber or Lyft, or staying the night at the location where you will be drinking. Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs should never happen when you draw a hard line.
- Watch out for fatigue – Recent research has helped raise awareness about the significant dangers posed by driver fatigue. One study in particular from AAA reported that missing even just a few hours of sleep in a night can increase crash risks equivalent to driving while legally intoxicated. Do your part to avoid drowsy driving accidents by getting proper rest, having another person drive when you’re sleep deprived, and getting off the road when you feel fatigue is compromising your ability to safely operate a vehicle.
- Be vigilant before making a maneuver – Many auto accidents occur when drivers don’t see others around them. For this reason, it is crucial that you remain vigilant behind the wheel, and look at your mirrors and over your shoulder prior to making any maneuver, including lane changes, turns, and pulling out into traffic. Use your signals at all times, and only proceed when you know the coast is clear.
- Watch your speed – Speeding is an easy way to increase crash risks, as well as risks of causing more serious accidents and catastrophic injuries. Make it a point to travel the posted speed limit, and adjust your speed accordingly to your surroundings and circumstances. For example, it is important to reduce your speed in congested traffic, near schools where children may pop out from behind parked vehicles, near pedestrians, in construction zones, and whether weather conditions make high speeds a serious hazard.
Focusing on these simple tips when driving can help reduce your risks of auto accidents, but it won’t eliminate them. That’s because even the most vigilant and safe motorist can fall victim to injuries when other drivers or individuals are negligent. Fortunately, our legal system provides those victims with the right to seek financial compensation for their losses and damages, including their pain and suffering, lost income, and medical expenses. Learn how you may be entitled to a recovery of your damages after a preventable wreck, by contacting Accident Attorneys 24/7 for a free consultation.