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7 Overlooked Car Accident-Related Dangers

Posted in Car Accident on August 10, 2018

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that more than 40,000 people were killed in automobile-related accidents in the U.S. in 2017.

That’s a slight decrease from 2016—around one percent—but it’s still six percent higher than the total number of crash-related fatalities in 2015. Despite increased enforcement from police officers and state troopers and an emphasis on safety features and campaigns from automakers and legislators, auto accidents are still inside the top 15 causes of death for all Americans.

At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville car accident lawyers know that almost everyone relies on vehicles or encounters them on a daily basis. They’re necessary parts of modern life, but they can also be extremely dangerous. Even drivers who follow all safety precautions can still face numerous risks, especially when other drivers are negligent or reckless behind the wheel.

If you or someone you love was hurt in a car accident that was caused by a careless driver, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Our legal team has 30 years of experience helping victims like you get the money they deserve after crashes, and we’ll do everything we can to help you, too. Get in touch with us today—call (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online contact form to speak with our lawyers.

Auto Accidents Often Take Victims by Surprise

Most people are familiar with the top causes of crashes, including speeding, driving while under the influence, and driving while distracted. But when you’re traveling just a few feet away from other vehicles, there’s a huge variety of scenarios, situations, and circumstances that can cause crashes to occur.

A few overlooked causes of crashes include:

  1. Swerving—Sometimes the party responsible for an accident isn’t involved the crash at all. When drivers are reckless or put people in other vehicles in danger, they may cause chain-reactions of multiple drivers swerving or slamming on their brakes to avoid a collision. In turn, that can cause pile-ups or collisions involving drivers who weren’t even close to the driver that started the chaotic sequence of events. In addition, drivers also may inadvertently cause crashes when they swerve to avoid debris or road defects, including branches, vehicle parts, or pot holes. Keeping an eye out for potential dangers up ahead can help you react in time and avoid dangerous swerving or sudden braking.
  2. Driver inexperience—Teens have a higher risk of being involved in car accidents than almost any other age group, and many people assume that it’s because of their associated risk factors. Those risk factors include behaviors like speeding and texting while driving. But teens and other inexperienced drivers can be involved in or cause crashes simply due to their inexperience, even when no other significant risk factors are present. Drivers who lack hours behind the wheel are less familiar with how to deal with potentially dangerous situations, and they may make mistakes that are rare in more experienced drivers. If you’re concerned about your teen’s driving abilities, enroll him or her in a driver’s education class or spend more time supervising him or her behind the wheel.
  3. Overconfidence—For most drivers, the vast majority of the miles logged in a given year are along the same route—the daily commute to and from work. That’s especially true for Middle Tennessee residents, including those who work in downtown Nashville. The daily drive on Interstates 24, 40, 440, and 65 can be monotonous and boring, especially when you’re stuck in traffic. But it’s important to never become complacent or overconfident. Every time you head out on a road, street, highway, or interstate, there’s a chance you’ll be involved in an accident. Always drive defensively and follow the rules of the road to reduce your risks. Staying up to date on traffic and accident reports before your morning and evening commutes can also help you stay safe and avoid delays.
  4. Neglected vehicle maintenance—You don’t need to drive a brand-new luxury vehicle to stay safe, but you do need to make sure your vehicle’s components are in good condition and are inspected frequently. When weather hits extreme temperatures, underinflated and worn tires are more likely to blow out or burst, which can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. In addition, worn brakes, including brake pads and rusted brake lines, can increase stopping distance, making rear-end crashes more likely to occur. Other important maintenance tasks include replacing broken or ineffective wiper blades for improved visibility during rain and making sure all of your lights and signals work to make it easier for other drivers to see you.
  5. Footwear—An NHTSA study found that around 15 accidents per month are directly attributable to “pedal misapplication.” That can refer to various types of footwear-related issues, including flip-flops and high heels. Both types of shoes can slip off of gas or brake pedals and cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. In some cases, shoes can even slip off drivers’ feet and become wedged underneath pedals, making it impossible to accelerate or brake until the shoe is removed. And when a vehicle is in motion, the consequences of that happening can be dangerous and even deadly. Although there are no laws dictating the type of shoes drivers can and can’t wear behind the wheel, it’s smart to avoid shoes that make it difficult to use your vehicle’s pedals.
  6. Unrestrained pets—Many people think of distracted driving as being an issue related to cell phones and other electronic devices. But pets can be a huge source of distraction for drivers, especially when they aren’t properly restrained. Tennessee doesn’t have any laws requiring drivers to restrain their animals in vehicles but doing so is essential for your safety and the safety of your animals. When pets aren’t kept in enclosures, they can jump into your lap at any given time, which can be distracting and cause you to take your eyes and mind off the road. Smaller animals may even jump into the floorboard near your feet, making it more difficult for you to press the gas or brake pedals. When traveling with pets, place them in size-appropriate enclosures.
  7. Medical emergencies—Heart attacks, strokes, fainting, migraines, and even panic attacks have been known to lead to serious auto accidents. Any medical condition or emergency that causes a driver to lose consciousness or their ability to focus on the road can lead to crashes. If you have a history of any of the conditions listed above, consult with your doctor before getting behind the wheel. If your doctor says it’s safe to drive, be ready to pull over in safe place if you think your condition may interfere with your ability to safely drive your vehicle.

No Matter What Caused Your Crash, You May Be Eligible for Compensation

The causes of car accidents are varied, but most crashes have one thing in common: innocent victims are eligible to file claims for compensation.

You may be facing huge expenses after your accident, including medical bills that you can’t afford and weeks or even months of lost wages. You shouldn’t have to bear those losses on your own—especially if the crash wasn’t your fault.

Get in touch with our legal team today to find out how we can help you get the money you deserve. We’re ready to put our experience to work for you and your loved ones.