Most people have certain driving habits that are less than optimal, but some drivers routinely engage in conduct that substantially increases the risk of an auto accident. While the best practice is for drivers to always observe the rules of the road and engage in defense driving, there are especially dangerous driving habits that cause more accidents and severe injuries. When motorists disregard traffic safety and engage in these practices, the predictable result can be serious permanent injuries like spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, damage to vital organs, paralysis and other life-changing injuries.
Our Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Montlick & Associates have handled a multitude of collisions involving all types of motor vehicles and injuries, so we see the types of unsafe driving that change people’s lives all too often. We have provided an overview of some of the types of driving practices that frequently cause serious car accidents.
Most motorists have at least some awareness of the risks associated with distracted driving because this dangerous driving practice has received a lot of attention in recent years. While cell phone use and texting and driving justifiably have received a lot of the focus from lawmakers, traffic safety experts and others, any form of distracted driving can be dangerous. If a motorist’s eyes, mind or hands are engaged in tasks other than driving, the risk of a collision increases dramatically. Whether a driver is sending a text message, eating lunch, or applying makeup, drivers cannot safely multi-task behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Distracted drivers causes thousands of deaths annually and causes injury to approximately a half a million other people annually according to the government’s official distracted driving website distraction.gov. Although the vast majority of drivers are awareness of the risk of distracted driving, the federal government estimates that approximately 660,000 drivers are using hand-held cell phones at any moment in time. Text messaging is particularly dangerous because a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will travel the length of a football field in the five seconds it takes to read a text message.
Alcohol Impaired Driving
Intoxicated drivers continue to claim the lives of approximately 10,000 people per year and account for one in three traffic accident-related fatalities according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While most drivers would readily acknowledge that it is never safe to drink and drive, the CDC reports that adults in the U.S. drink too much and climb behind the wheel 112 million times per year.
Intoxicated drivers may experience both impaired mental and physical driving skills. Drunk drivers often exhibit slower reaction times, impaired judgment, diminished coordination, distorted vision and other compromised driving skills. Although driving while under the influence is one of the most dangerous forms of driving behavior, drunk driving accidents are completely preventable if motorists abstain from driving while intoxicated. When a drunk driver causes an accident that results in severe bodily injury or a fatality, this type of personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit might result in punitive damages.
Running Stop Signs and Traffic Lights
Intersections constitute a common accident location because motor vehicles need to intersect and cross paths of travel. When motorists blow through red lights and stop signs, the risk of a collision is extremely high because drivers are directly in the path of other vehicles. Drivers may fail to stop at a controlled intersection because they are not paying attention, or they are driving while drunk or drugged. If you are involved in a car accident caused by a driver that fails to obey a traffic sign or signal, you should summon the police and gather the names and contact information of witnesses who can confirm that the other driver failed to stop.
When drivers exceed the speed limit, they increase the risk of losing control of their vehicle. Motorists driving faster also require greater stopping distances. Traveling at an excessive speed is both more likely to cause in a collision and to increase the force of impact. Generally, vehicle crashes that generate a more violent impact tend to result in more severe injuries and a higher risk of fatalities. According to research from the Virginia Transportation Research Council, substantial variance in speeds between vehicles increase the probability of motor vehicle crashes. In other words, vehicles traveling 55 mph in a 55 zone are not necessarily more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers traveling 35 mph in a 35 zone. However, motorists who ignore the speed limit and drive substantially faster than the average speed of traffic increase the likelihood of a crash. The researchers also found a direct correlation between higher rates of speed and severe accidents.
Driving with Limited Experience
Newly licensed teen drivers are most likely to be involved in a fatal collision. While graduated driver’s license programs and zero tolerance underage alcohol laws have been enacted to mitigate these risks, teen drivers still tend to be disproportionately represented in fatal car accident statistics. Newly licensed teen drivers between the ages of 16-19 are three times as likely to be involved in a fatal collision than drivers age 20 and older based on a per mile driven basis according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC also reports that there are a number of factors that tend to contribute to the high risk of death among teen drivers that include:
- Lower rates of seat belt use
- Underestimating dangerous situations
- Observing shorter following distances
- Relatively high rate of speeding and drunk driving compared to older drivers
- Less developed ability to identify hazardous situations
- Transporting peers
- Less experience compensating for driving distractions
If you or a close family member has been injured in a crash caused by an intoxicated or distracted driver, contact our experienced Atlanta accident lawyers to learn about your legal rights and the steps that need to be taken to protect those rights. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.
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