5 Ways You Can Immediately Reduce Your Risks while Driving

Posted in Car Accident on April 27, 2018

Cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles are integral parts of our daily lives. And while they’re necessary for a significant majority of the population in both Tennessee and throughout the country, they also pose serious risks to our health and well-being.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 37,461 people were killed in auto accidents in 2016—the most in the U.S. since 2007. In addition, around 2.5 million people are injured in car accidents every year nationally.

Finally, studies show that the average driver files a claim for an auto accident once roughly every 18 years. That means most drivers can expect to be involved in anywhere from two to four car accidents during their lifetimes. And while most car accidents are minor, some can be much more serious and put vehicle occupants at risk of suffering disabling and even life-threatening injuries.

At Matt Hardin Law, it’s our goal to help car accident victims get compensation for their accident-related expenses. We know how crashes can be devastating from a physical, emotional, and financial standpoint, as they can cause victims to be unable to go back to work for long periods of time, all while facing expensive medical bills.

That’s why we work hard to maximize their chances of obtaining full damages for the suffering they incurred as a result of another person’s or party’s negligence. If you or someone you love was hurt in a crash that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with us today—call our legal team at (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online contact form.

Follow These Tips to Improve Your Safety on Tennessee’s Roadways

Being a safe and conscientious driver means both protecting yourself and your loved ones while also being prepared for the possibility of being involved in an accident. The two-pronged approach of both reducing your chances of causing or being a victim of an accident and doing your best to reduce your risks of injury if you are involved in a crash can significantly improve your chances of avoiding serious injuries.

Although safe driving techniques and precautions are extensive, there are five core responsibilities that all drivers share that can dramatically improve their safety and the safety of Tennessee’s highways and interstates:

  • Don’t speed—The NHTSA says that speeding is still one of the most common causes of serious crashes. In fact, it killed more than 10,000 people in 2016 and accounted for more than one-quarter of all traffic fatalities that year.

Speed limits are put in place on roads in Tennessee and throughout the country for a reason—they’re the maximum speeds that are safe for that particular road, highway, or interstate due to things like traffic patterns and visibility. When you exceed a speed limit, you’re more likely to lose control, your vehicle’s safety features are less effective, you require more distance to slow down or stop, and any injury you suffer is more likely to increase in severity in the event of a crash.

  • Don’t drive while under the influence—Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or even certain prescription medications, substances that affect you mentally or physically can make you more likely to be injured or even killed while you’re behind the wheel.

Driving while drunk is roughly just as dangerous as driving while exceeding the speed limit, as the NHTSA reported that 10,497 people were killed in drunk driving-related crashes in 2016. You can reduce or eliminate your risks by using a designated driver before leaving home, calling a taxi or using a ride-sharing service, or by utilizing public transportation. In addition, you can also potentially save lives by alerting law enforcement if you see drivers that appear to be intoxicated.

  • Don’t drive while distracted—Tennessee enacted its first distracted driving laws in 2009, and since then, more have been added to help protect everyone who shares the state’s roads. As the number of people who have smartphones increases in the Volunteer State and nationwide, it’s becoming clear to law enforcement and safety organizations that distracted driving is a growing epidemic that threatens the safety of all drivers.

The NHTSA’s research found that 3,450 people were killed nationwide in distracted driving-related crashes in 2016, but the true number could be even higher, as it can be difficult to determine whether at-fault drivers were distracted immediately before crashes. You can reduce your risks by never using your smartphone while you’re behind the wheel. Instead, make phone calls and send text messages before and after your commute.

  • Don’t ride in a vehicle without wearing a seat belt—Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, there’s no better way to protect yourself when you’re traveling than by wearing your seat belt. The NHTSA says that nearly 15,000 lives were saved by seat belts during car accidents in 2016. Although national use of seat belts is estimated to be around 90 percent, that still means that more than 27 million people don’t buckle up.

In addition, a much larger number of people may wear their seat belts only occasionally or only on longer trips. Car accidents can happen anywhere and at any time—even in parking lots—and getting in the habit of buckling up every time you get in your vehicle or anyone else’s vehicle could save your life. In addition, buckling up consistently helps set a positive example for children, and when they see you do it, they’ll be more likely to develop and practice those good habits later in life.

  • Don’t drive if you aren’t feeling up to it—Driving is a demanding task that’s easy to take for granted. It requires fast reflexes, good judgment, clear vision, and concentrated focus for long periods of time. However, it’s common for drivers to get behind the wheel when one or more of those requirements are impaired or lacking due to sleep deprivation, illness, disability, age-related complications, or general fatigue.

Avoid driving if you’re exhausted, and if you feel yourself falling asleep or dozing off while driving, pull over to a safe location immediately and rest. In addition, you should also avoid driving while sick or while suffering from a disability that makes driving more difficult. Finally, never drive without wearing corrective lenses, as being able to quickly and accurately see vehicles, street signs, and lanes both up close and in the distance is a basic requirement for safe driving.

If You Were Hurt in an Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault, We Want to Help

Our 30 years of experience helping injured victims like you after car accidents means we know that a significant number of crashes are due to driver negligence. And when drivers fail to uphold their responsibilities to drive safely, their victims can file claims for compensation.

However, it can be difficult to get full compensation without the help of an experienced Nashville car accident lawyer on your side. Insurance companies make huge profits every year by reducing or denying claims, and they frequently take advantage of auto accident victims who need money immediately or who don’t understand how claims work.

Don’t be a victim twice, and don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you when you’re in a vulnerable state. Call us today to get our experience and our resources on your side.