Avoid a Car Accident by Following These Tips
Sixwise.com puts out hundreds of helpful tip sheets that unsurprisingly always offer 6 bits of advice or tips or secrets. Here is a short version of one they did on car accidents. For the rest of the story, see their post here.
1. Distracted Drivers
Distracted drivers cause between 25-50 percent of all U.S. motor vehicle accidents.
Mark Edwards, Director of Traffic Safety at the American Automobile Association stated, "The research tells us that somewhere between 25-50 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in this country really have driver distraction as their root cause."
The distractions are many, but according to a study conducted by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), texting -- rubbernecking -- or slowing down to gawk at another accident -- caused the most accidents, accounting for 16 percent of all distraction-related crashes.
After rubbernecking, other common driver distractions included:
Another increasingly serious cause of driver distraction is cell phone use, as more than 85 percent of the estimated 100 million cell-phone users talk on their phone regularly while driving, according to a Prevention magazine survey. At least one study has found that driving and talking on a cell phone at the same time quadruples the risk of crashing, which is why many cities have recently begun banning their use while driving unless a hands-free device is used.
- Driver fatigue (12 percent, see below)
- Looking at scenery (10 percent)
- Other passengers or children (9 percent)
- Adjusting the radio, cassette or CD player (7 percent)
- Reading the newspaper, books, maps or other documents (less than 2 percent)
2. Driver Fatigue
Drowsy drivers account for about 100,000 accidents every year in the United States, according to the U.S. National Traffic Safety Administration. The risk is greatest from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m., the time when most people are used to sleeping, however some people also become drowsy from noon to 2 p.m.
Symptoms of driver fatigue include heavy eyelids, frequent yawning, a drifting vehicle that wanders over road lines, varying vehicle speed for no reason, misjudging traffic situations, seeing things "jump out" in the road, feeling fidgety or irritable and daydreaming.
3. Drunk Driving
In 2004, an estimated 16,654 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, according to NHTSA. This is an average of one death almost every half-hour. Drunk drivers were responsible for 30 percent of all fatal crashes during the week in 2003, but this percentage rose significantly over the weekends, during which 53 percent of fatal crashes were alcohol-related.
Speeding is a multi-tiered threat because not only does it reduce the amount of time necessary to avoid a crash, it also increases the risk of crashing and makes the crash more severe if it does occur. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), when speed increases from 40 mph to 60 mph, the energy released in a crash more than doubles. Simply slowing down and obeying posted speed limits can go a long way toward making the roads safer.
5. Aggressive Driving
Exactly what is an aggressive driver? According to the New York State Police, it's anyone who:
"Operates a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold or pushy manner, without regard for the rights or safety of the other users of the streets and highways." This includes behaviors such as:
- Aggressive tailgating
- Flashing lights at other drivers because you're irritated at them
- Aggressive or rude gestures
- Deliberately preventing another driver from moving their vehicle
- Verbal abuse
- Physical assaults
- Disregarding traffic signals
- Changing lanes frequently or in an unsafe manner
- Failure to yield the right of way
Inclement weather, including heavy rain, hail, snowstorms, ice, high winds and fog can make driving more difficult. You'll need more time to stop and may have trouble seeing the road clearly, so when the weather gets bad be sure to leave extra room between the car in front of you and slow down. If necessary, pull off the road to a rest stop (or to the side of the road, well out of the traffic lanes) until conditions improve.
Even while you try to do a better job of driving and avoiding accidents, there are those on the road who are still going to rubber neck, text while driving, or drink and drive. The good news is that your better driving skills and techniques will lower your likelihood of being involved in a car accident. The bad news is that there is still a chance that you will or that one of your family members might.
If you are in an auto accident and sustain an injury, here is tip #7.
NEVER CALL THE INSURANCE COMPANY CLAIMS ADJUSTER until you speak with an experienced car accident attorney. Eric Aretsky will be happy to receive your call 24/7 on his personal phone. There is not cost or obligation to talk with Eric about your situation. Then there is no out of pocket cost to you to pursue a maximum settlement with the insurance company through Eric and his law firm. You only pay when you get paid by the insurance company. You don't have to deal with them at all. Eric will do all the work. Call now