Don’t Overlook These Auto Accident Dangers
Posted in Car Accident on November 4, 2018
Law enforcement agencies and governmental safety organizations spend big money annually to increase awareness of common causes of car accidents, including drunk driving, distracted driving, and speeding. Although those three risk factors represent the majority of the causes of crashes in Tennessee and throughout the country, they aren’t the only risk factors drivers should be aware of.
Additional risk factors that drivers, passengers, and anyone else on the roadway should be concerned about include:
- Standing or walking near a roadway—Whether you’re traveling on foot, were just involved in an accident, or are attempting to repair your disabled vehicle, standing or walking near moving traffic can be extremely dangerous. As a pedestrian, it’s important to stick to sidewalks and well-lit areas. Avoid streets and highways that don’t have sidewalks or that don’t give you enough room to put plenty of distance between yourself and traffic. If you were involved in a crash or your vehicle breaks down, move it to the side of the road and call for help. Never attempt to change a flat tire or make other repairs to your vehicle on the side of the road. Instead, call a tow truck and have your vehicle moved to a repair shop.
- Driving while sleep-deprived—Sleep deprivation is a growing epidemic in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 30 percent of Americans get fewer than six hours of sleep per day. That means more than 40 million people are on the nation’s roadways while sleep deprived. Sleep deprivation and chronic exhaustion can cause mental and physical effects that are similar to being intoxicated or impaired, and tired drivers are significantly more likely to be involved in accidents. If you feel sleepy while behind the wheel, pull over and rest. If you’re chronically fatigued, getting a physical evaluation can help you get better sleep, decreasing your risks of hurting yourself or others on the road.
- Following too closely—Nashville’s traffic problem is worsening every year, and that means morning and evening commutes on Interstates 24, 40, 440, and 65 are frequently bumper-to-bumper. However, just because traffic is heavy doesn’t mean you have to tailgate the vehicle in front of you. Many drivers don’t put enough distance between their vehicles and the vehicles in front of them, even when they think their following distance is safe. Experts recommend following the two-second rule regardless of speed. That means counting off two seconds after the vehicle in front of you passes a landmark, and if you pass the same landmark before two seconds, you’re following too closely. During inclement weather, increase your following distance to three seconds for improved safety and stopping distance.
- Not properly holding the steering wheel—For decades, safety and automotive experts recommend holding the steering wheel with the left hand in the 10:00 position and the right hand in the 2:00 position. But in recent years, that advice has given way to the 9:00 position and the 3:00 position, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s because it both gives drives better control and also helps protect them during accidents—especially when they’re driving vehicles with small steering wheels that are equipped with airbags. It’s also important to keep both hands on the wheel whenever possible. Doing so helps ensure that you’ll remain in control of your vehicle if you need to make a sudden movement, such as avoiding a collision or making small adjustments if you hydroplane or drive over a patch of ice.
- Driving too fast for weather conditions—The posted speed limits on roadways throughout Tennessee are for normal weather conditions. However, when weather impacts visibility, traction, or braking distance, it’s vital for drivers to reduce their speed. For example, fog can make it difficult to see more than a few dozen feet in front of your vehicle, and other vehicles can be nearly invisible even when they have their lights on. Heavy rain can both impair your ability to see the road and make the road slick, while ice and snow can be both blinding and increase your chances of losing control of your vehicle. Be especially mindful of hazardous weather conditions when you’re driving at night, or winding roads, or when you have to drive over bridges, particularly during winter.
- Underestimating the dangers of rural roads—It’s common for drivers to be more alert and on guard when driving through densely populated areas or while traveling on high-speed highways and interstates. The opposite is true for less trafficked roads, especially in rural areas, as drivers may become relaxed and even complacent. However, that can be a big, costly, and dangerous mistake, as rural highways pose many risks to drivers when they aren’t focused on safety. For example, many head-on collisions and rollover crashes—two of the deadliest types of accidents—occur on straight-ahead rural roads. Keep your eyes and mind focused on the road no matter where you are, and never take your safety for granted.
- Internal injuries that take time to show up—Sometimes auto accident victims emerge from their crashes seemingly unscathed, only to suffer from severe pain or even life-threatening complications hours or days later. That’s because not all car crash-related injuries are immediately obvious. Adrenaline can mask the pain and reduced mobility victims can suffer in their muscles, joints, and tendons, and it can take many hours for excess adrenaline to fade. In addition, internal organs can be damaged during crashes, resulting in bleeding, dysfunction, or even failure. That’s why it’s extremely important to see a doctor right away after a crash, even if you don’t think you were seriously injured. A healthcare provider can detect hidden injuries and rule out potentially fatal complications.
Matt Hardin Law Offers Experienced and Dedicated Legal Representation
If you were hurt in a crash that wasn’t your fault, you need a law firm on your side as soon as possible. That’s because the insurance company may begin building its case against you as soon as it finds out about the crash. And the longer you wait to get legal help, you more of an uphill battle you’ll face to get the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.
In addition to evidence disappearing, you also may risk an expiring statute of limitations. Tennessee is one of the only states in the country where auto accident victims have just one year to file claims, which makes it that much more important to get in touch with a lawyer right away after a crash.
Our Nashville auto accident attorneys are waiting for your call, and we’re ready to put our experience and track record of success to work for your family. We know what you’re going through, and we’ll do everything we can to help you get the maximum damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online form to get in touch with us.