Driving and riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle are facts of life for most people, but unfortunately, these activities come with many inherent risks. Being aware of the causes of vehicle crashes can help drivers take steps to reduce the chances of getting into an accident.
These are the three leading causes of car accident injuries on Florida roads.
Distracted driving involves doing any activity while driving that diverts the attention of the driver away from the road. Some examples of this include driving while very angry, changing settings on the radio, and daydreaming, just to mention a few. Paying attention to the road and avoiding distractions will lead to fewer accidents.
Driving While Intoxicated
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration above a certain amount is illegal in all 50 states, and there are severe penalties for this throughout the country. This is because alcohol negatively affects functions that are essential for safe driving, including reaction times, visual perception, concentration, reasoning, and coordination. Intoxicated driving can also include driving while under the influence of certain drugs.
Speeding refers to the act of driving too fast for the road conditions. Roads that are steep and winding, or that travel through neighborhoods, usually have lower speed limits than large highways. Speeding drivers put pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers and passengers at risk.
Regardless of which state you are driving in, reckless driving is still dangerous. Put simply, reckless driving is willfully disregarding safety while operating a motor vehicle and includes more than just speeding or cutting someone off while driving. Interestingly, reckless driving cases saw a steady increase during the pandemic according to USA Today.
Pete Buttigieg, Transportation Secretary, noted that the increase in fatalities and cases of reckless driving was unacceptable, stating “We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America.” Keeping your cool while driving, or immediately distancing yourself from any aggressive or reckless driver you encounter on the road will greatly decrease your risk of being involved in a car accident as a result of reckless driving.
Bad weather and driving are not typically a good mixture. With rain being one of the most obvious forms of bad weather to avoid while driving, high winds can be just as dangerous. When it is raining, slow down, leave extra distance between you and other vehicles, and turn on your lights.
In the State of Florida, the law requires that whenever wipers are in use, headlights must be turned on, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. When driving in high winds, slow down and be extra cautious around larger vehicles such as semi-trucks, and pay extra attention in open areas for flying debris.
Driving at Night
While the decreased amount of light makes driving at night more challenging, there are other aspects to night driving that make it more dangerous. Depending on where you are driving, there could be wildlife on the road, visibility can be limited from dim headlights or a dirty windshield, drivers may have compromised night vision, and some drivers experience fatigue while driving at night.
Collectively, these risk factors make driving at night especially dangerous. The National Safety Council shares that “50% of traffic deaths happen at night. It doesn’t matter whether the road is familiar or not, driving at night is always more dangerous.”
There is distracted driving, then there is texting and driving. When drivers look at their cell phones while driving, more time passes than many realize. The NHTSA reports that “Using a cell phone while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. In 2020, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.”
This does not include the number of accidents without fatalities that were caused by texting while driving. The best thing you can do is keep your phone in your pocket or bag and not use it until you’ve parked the car. In the event you need to use your phone while on the road, find a safe place to park off the road, such as a parking lot, before using your mobile device.
According to driversed.com, blind spots are “areas or zones on the road that cannot be seen by a driver while looking at the rear view or side mirrors.” In order to check these spots while driving, drivers must turn their heads and check over their shoulders in the direction they intend on moving. While driving at lower speeds, blind spot accidents may not cause severe injuries, but while driving at higher speeds on the interstate, checking your blind spot is imperative for avoiding accidents.
Proper maintenance of your vehicle is not important just for better fuel economy and longevity of your car. Experiencing something like a blown tire or transmission issue can easily lead to an accident while driving, especially if traveling at a high rate of speed on a highway or interstate. In addition to regularly scheduled maintenance of your vehicle, it is always a good idea to have a pre-trip safety check done on your vehicle before a long road trip or drive.
Running Lights or Stop Signs
It is never a good idea to run a red light or a stop sign. While there are laws against doing this with associated fines, the safety of yourself, passengers in your vehicle, and other drivers is the most important reason to stop at all lights and stop signs. In certain areas, there are also crosswalks where not stopping at a light or stop sign put pedestrians in danger.
While these are some of the leading causes of car accidents and car accident injuries, there are other factors as well to watch for. Most importantly, though, keep these ten common causes of car accidents in mind while you are driving not just to keep yourself and your passengers safe, but everyone else on the road.
If you have been involved in a car accident, contact the best Miami Personal Injury Attorneys, Bernstein & Maryanoff, who have decades of experience and proven results in protecting your rights.