Nearly 6 million motor vehicle crashes are reported each year in the United States. More than 10 million additional crashes are estimated and go unreported. While most of us believe we are confident, safe drivers, the truth is that most of us will be involved in at least 1 car accident in our lives.
Focusing on your responsibility as the operator of a vehicle can help you stay safe while you are on the road. Eliminating distractions and following the established rules of the road can help you avoid becoming one of the 3,000+ people who die as a result of a fatal car accident each year in Florida.
So what are the most common causes of car accidents and how can you avoid them?
Any time you’re not focused on the road is distracted driving. Changing the radio, eating fast food, drinking coffee and texting are some of the most common examples of distracted driving behavior. Effective July 1, 2019, you can be stopped and cited for texting and driving in Florida.
In Florida, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more is drunk driving. How many drinks is too many? It depends on individual factors such as your age, weight and size. Drinking alcohol can impair your driving and make the trip home far more dangerous for you and anyone else on the road.
In addition to facing a criminal penalty, a drunk driving charge can make the at-fault driver liable for personal injury damages in the event of a collision with another person.
Speed limits are not suggestions. The limits are determined using standards—25 mph in a residential area or 20 mph in a school zone—and they exist to reduce the amount of accidents. Exceeding the speed limits may get you to your destination a minute or two faster, but the risks aren’t worth the time saved.
Most of us have had bad days when perhaps we aren’t as cautious as we should be behind the wheel. Don’t take your frustration, anger and stress out on other drivers, as this can be deadly if you aren’t careful.
Crashes during inclement weather account for a significant portion of reported accidents. Take extra caution when you’re driving in bad weather conditions and make sure you give yourself extra room to stop your car at intersections. In stormy Florida, the most common weather hazards include heavy rain, fog, hail and wind.
The faster you drive, the longer it will take for your car to come to a complete stop. For example, at 30 mph it can take your car over 50 ft. to stop completely.
Just like your body, your car needs regular care. Tires with low tread can cause hydroplaning when roads are slick. Brake or turn signal lights that have burned out can lead to another driver running into you. Regular vehicle maintenance will keep you and those on the road with you safe.
We can’t predict the behavior of animals, but we can be extra vigilant while we’re driving on dark, rural roads where an animal encounter is more likely. Take extra care when driving at night, as animals may be too difficult to see until it’s too late.
Getting behind the wheel when you’re tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. If you feel yourself struggling to stay awake, pull into a parking space and take a brief nap. A 30-minute delay can mean the difference between arriving safely at your destination or not arriving at all.
Just like speed limits, road signs and lights are there for your protection. Always be aware of what the signs and lights are telling you to do. Drive the way you want others to drive, just like the Golden Rule.
Defects found on the roads you drive on can cause unexpected accidents. A deep pothole or a sudden drop-off on the side of the road can come up quickly. Over-adjustment of the wheel or swerving to avoid an obstacle can result in a collision with other cars nearby.
The common thread with most types of auto accidents is negligence. Driving takes focus. When you’re getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, remember that you are responsible for hundreds or thousands of pounds of rapidly moving metal. You have a great responsibility to keep yourself and others safe when you’re driving.
Unfortunately, even when you are doing all you can to stay safe, accidents still happen. If you were injured in an accident, contact experienced Florida car accident attorneys who can help guide you toward a successful recovery.