Sometimes an auto accident is just that; an accident. In many instances, however, a crash occurs due to someone’s negligence. The more miles you drive, the greater the chance you will be involved in an automobile accident, but by being aware of some of the more common causes, you may be able to develop some strategies to avoid being involved in one.
According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as many as 50 percent of all accidents on the American roadways are due to some form of distracted driving, which may be defined as any activity that diverts the drivers attention away from the task of driving. When you consider all the activities that occur inside a car during a drive, it is no wonder distracted driving has reached epidemic proportions. Common examples include talking on a cell phone, speaking with a passenger, adjusting a navigation device, and eating. However, perhaps the most dangerous distraction as reported by an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Augustine is the one that is caused by texting while driving.
The Unique Dangers of Texting
Breaking down the elements of distracted driving, researchers have found three components:
- Visual distraction
- Manual distraction
- Cognitive distraction
That is, a driver is distracted if he or she is not looking at the road, does not have his or her hands on the wheel, or if his or her attention is focused somewhere other than on the road. Texting involves all three.
Today’s world operates at a rapid pace, and everyone seems to be in a hurry all the time. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the road. Almost every driver speeds at one time or another, but that doesn’t justify doing so. Speed limits are set on each road for a reason; exceeding the posted limit can be deadly. While most people would agree that driving extremely fast, say 100 mph, is foolish and reckless, driving even five or ten miles over the speed limit can be just as dangerous depending on the conditions. For example, if an average motor vehicle is traveling at 30 mph, it will take approximately 45 feet to come to a complete stop. But if that vehicle is traveling at 35 mph, at a distance of 45 feet the car will still be moving at about 18 mph. Hitting another moving car, a stationary object, or worse, a pedestrian, at that speed can result in significant damage.
Despite much publicity and aggressive efforts by law enforcement, drunk driving remains a big problem. A startling report by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers indicates that despite the fact that as many as 4000 people a day in the country are arrested for drunk driving, up to 300,000 drunk driving incidences occur each day. Some say there is no reason to ever get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, but the science is clear that the dangers exponentially increase with the consumption of more alcohol. An NHTSA study found that drivers who were found to have a BAC of 0.08 percent, the legal limit for most drivers, were four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than sober drivers. With a BAC of 0.15 percent, that number jumps to 12 times more likely.
An overly aggressive driver poses risks to others who share the road. Behavior such as following too closely, honking the car’s horn, tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, and running stop signs and red lights can result in accidents, many of which may not involve the aggressive driver.
Driver fatigue and falling asleep at the wheel are not merely problems for those who drive during nighttime hours. Although certainly true for the hours between 2:00 am and 6:00 am, there is also statistical evidence that many drivers exhibit similar symptoms of fatigue around what is known as the “2:00 pm slump.” Long journeys without appropriate rest are the main cause, and drivers often become fatigued without realizing that fact. In many instances, a personal injury attorney in St. Augustine reports that those who drive commercially are pressed into long hours by the trucking companies’ unrealistic schedule requirements.
Weather, particularly wet or icy roads, remains a leading cause of accidents. While curtailing driving during certain conditions may not be practical or possible, drivers who must venture out should adjust their driving speed to the road conditions, and be certain their vehicles are maintained properly for the type of driving required.
Contact a St. Augustine Auto Accident Attorney for Legal Advice
Whatever the cause of an auto accident, you need to be certain your legal rights are protected. For an evaluation of your case, call Canan Law, a St. Augustine auto accident attorney, at (904) 849-2266.