Any time you get behind the wheel, you and your passengers are at risk of a serious accident. Knowing what to be alert to while driving your vehicle around Atlanta is more important now than ever before. There are many people operating cars, trucks, vans, SUVs and commercial trucks who fail to exercise reasonable care for the safety of others. Careless drivers can put you and your passengers at risk of a serious injury or fatal injury in a traffic accident. Defensive driving techniques can save a life – possibly your own.
#1 – Distracted Drivers: An Epidemic
The number one cause of accidents is distracted driving, which is reaching epidemic proportions. State lawmakers have passed statutes making it illegal to drive and use a hand-held cell phone. But these laws are not effective when they are ignored. Drivers who read and answer texts, talk on a hand-held phone, eat, put on makeup or simply fail to focus on the road cause preventable car accidents. There are a surprising number of vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving. During daylight hours, it is estimated that 660,000 drivers are using a cell phone or manipulating some type of digital device.
|Percentage of Drivers|
|Answering Cell Phone While Driving||48|
|Making a Cell Phone Call While Driving||24|
|Sending Text Messages||21|
|Sending Text Messages While Vehicle in Motion||35|
Source: US Dept. of Transportation, NHTSA
#2 – Speeding Drivers: A Deadly Habit
Some people believe that they have the right to violate the law and exceed speed limits. These drivers weave in and out of lanes, take risks in passing, and are often aggressive in their driving behavior. Unfortunately, the faster you go, the longer it takes to stop your vehicle, and there is less time to avoid an accident due to a road hazard or other problem. Speeding drivers are the second most common cause of car accidents in the U.S. If you notice a speeding driver, it is important that you drop back and let the vehicle pass you or get ahead, and let the police know if the driver is endangering others. Pull over before you make the call to the police.
#3 – Drunk Drivers: Killers Behind the Wheel
Drunk drivers are responsible for some of the most deadly accidents, often leading to permanent injuries or fatalities. Wrong-way driving, weaving, cutting across lanes into oncoming traffic and speeding contribute to a large number of fatal accidents. Families suffer unimaginable loss when a loved one has been permanently injured or died when a driver chose to get behind the wheel while intoxicated by alcohol. Alcohol-related accidents are four times more likely to occur in the evening hours than during the day.
Fatal Accidents Caused by Drunk Drivers 2012
|Driver/Passenger||Number of Deaths||Percent of Total Deaths|
|Driver at or over .08% BAC||6688||65|
|Passenger Riding with Driver at or over .08% BAC||1654||16|
|Occupants in Other Vehicles||1170||11|
#4 – Reckless Driving: Endangering Lives
Driving behaviors that are reckless include carelessly changing lanes without checking for traffic, speeding and tailgating. Some drivers are very aggressive when behind the wheel. A reckless disregard for the safety of others can lead to a serious or deadly accident. If you observe a driver who is aggressive, tailgating you or weaving through lanes unsafely, drop back, or take other defensive actions. The likelihood of an accident is greatly increased when a reckless driver is sharing the road.
#5 – Weather Conditions: Slippery Roads Cause Accidents
When driving in rainy weather, it is imperative that you reduce speed. Many drivers believe that because they are operating an SUV or truck, they are safe in rainy weather. No style of tire or vehicle makes it safe to travel over 45 miles per hour in a heavy downpour. Hitting a flooded area and hydroplaning, losing control of your vehicle and causing an accident is much more likely in heavy rains. If you observe a vehicle moving fast in your vicinity in rainy weather, drop back so you stay safe. These drivers can cause multi-vehicle accidents when the car, truck or other vehicle goes out of control.
#6 – Red Light Violations: The Danger to Other Drivers
Drivers who run red lights endanger all drivers and pedestrians in the area. Running a red light can be a symptom of aggressive driving, or the result of a driver who is distracted by texting or simply failing to observe the road. Unfortunately, these accidents can have secondary impacts in which another vehicle is pushed into a stationary object such as a light or nearby vehicle. When entering an intersection, be alert to traffic that could be speeding through a changing traffic light and don’t jump ahead on green. Atlanta has a high number of accidents that take place in intersections, and being aware of this problem could save a life.
# 7 – Stop Sign Violations: Negligent Drivers
The seventh most common type of car accident is caused by a driver running a stop sign. In many cases, the driver did not observe the stop sign, an indicator of distracted driving. These accidents are deadly for motorcyclists, pedestrians and other drivers. A driver running a stop sign will most often cause a side-impact crash. In some cases, the impact is so violent that the other vehicle rolls over or is pushed into a stationary item, creating an even more deadly situation for innocent drivers and their passengers.
#8 – Teenage Drivers: The Stats Don’t Lie
Young, inexperienced drivers can be dangerous. Their lack of experience affects the ability to act quickly, and to make the right decisions. A teenage driver is also capable of violating traffic laws by speeding, driving drunk, texting while driving and other actions that are extremely dangerous. The leading cause of death to both males and females between 13 and 19 years of age is motor vehicle accident injuries, and the rate of fatal crashes per mile is three times the rate of drivers over 20 years old. Young people can feel invincible. They don’t consider consequences in the same way as an adult. If you have a young driver in your family, it is advised that you carefully monitor all of their driving activity and keep strict tabs on them for their own protection, and the safety of others. Teens with passengers are far more likely to cause a speeding-related accident.
Teen Driver Speeding-Related Fatal Crashes
# 9 – Night Driving Accidents
The diminished ability to perceive what is ahead is the ninth most common cause of car accidents. It is imperative that drivers reduce speed in the evening hours when there is limited visibility. The inability to see road hazards ahead or vehicles stopped or animals or other items on the street road or highway can lead to serious or fatal accidents.
#10 – Faulty Design: Vehicle Design or Defective Parts or Systems
A faulty or defective auto part or design is the tenth most common reason for a vehicle crash. There have been many well publicized recalls of defective automobile components and safety systems, such as the recent General Motors recall of vehicles with defective ignition switches. If an auto part or system fails to perform, the vehicle can go out of control. A tire that blows on a vehicle traveling at high speeds can cause a driver to lose control. Failing brakes, stuck accelerators or a design flaw in the vehicle itself can lead to a higher number of rollovers and the subsequent injuries or deaths.
#11 – Unsafe Lane Changes: Negligent Drivers
Some drivers do not consider it a duty to use signals, shoulder check, and carefully change lanes. Random and unsafe lane changes are the eleventh most common reason for a serious accident. Motorcyclists are particularly at risk due to their smaller profile. Many drivers risk their own lives and the lives of others by making unsafe lane changes.
#12 – Wrong Way Drivers: A Disaster
Drunk drivers are known to drive the wrong way down streets or highways, but other drivers also make this deadly error. Wrong way driving or turning onto highways in the wrong lane can cause terrible head-on collisions, and many injured or fatally injured drivers and passengers.
#13 – Incorrect Turns: A Common Error
The process of turning into lanes or merging into traffic involves signaling and ensuring that there is space in which to enter. Many drivers take risks in turning, or fail to observe oncoming traffic and make improper turns, leading to serious injury accidents. Failing to note who has the right-of-way is a common error made by drivers of all ages. Drivers may fail to notice posted signs for “no right turn on red” at a traffic light. Failing to come to a full stop before making a turn is another danger.
#14 – Tailgaters: Rear-End Accidents in the Making
Drivers should follow at a safe distance. But many are unaware of the distance required to bring a vehicle to a full stop. Drivers may follow closely to pressure another driver to move over. This dangerous practice is the cause of many vehicle accidents, as a vehicle cannot be brought to a halt quickly enough to avoid an impact should the car ahead be forced to stop. A rear-end accident can have serious consequences, causing severe injuries as the driver and passengers are thrown forward by the impact, leading to a multi-vehicle accident.
#15 – Drugged Driving: Illegal or Prescription Drug Intoxication
There are many people operating vehicles under the influence of drugs, and they are not always illegal substances. Many types of medications impair ability, and drivers who are currently on medication, whether a painkiller or drug to manage depression, cannot safely operate a vehicle. If you are found to be under the influence of any controlled substance and to have caused an accident, you can face legal repercussions, even if the medication was legally prescribed by your physician. Be aware of the side effects of any medication before you get behind the wheel. Drivers that are on an illegal drug and cause an accident will likely face both drug charges and DUI drug charges. These accidents can be minor or very serious.
If you have been the victim of a negligent driver, contact us and speak with our Atlanta car accident attorneys at The Millar Law Firm to help you seek justice and full compensation.
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