Was It YOUR Fault? Common Mistakes that Lead to Accidents
Automobile accidents are never a fun experience. If you are the driver at fault though, a minor accident can turn into a MAJOR headache. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t realize just how simple it can be to be placed at fault in a car accident based on their behavior in mere seconds leading up to the moment of impact.
So, what are some of the mishaps we see most often?
Distracted driving is obviously a big issue. We all see “Don’t Text and Drive” ads popping up in our email, on our social media pages, and on the television. Kids in driver’s education are drilled on putting their phone away, keeping the radio down, etc. when behind the wheel. However, this can quickly fade to the back of your mind with the more experience you have as a driver. Reaching to change the radio station to a better song, grabbing your phone “just to see who’s calling,” or turning for a quick moment to say something to a backseat passenger can lead to a dangerous situation in the blink of an eye. How often have you had to slam on your brakes because when you looked up from that brief moment of distraction, the driver in front of you had stopped suddenly, or a stop sign seemingly popped up out of nowhere? If you rear-ended them, you are presumptively considered at fault. This can lead to some pretty legitimate charges against you, specifically if it’s proven that you were not paying attention at the time of the collision. In addition to outside distractions, driving while under-rested can be just as dangerous as texting on your phone. If you are sleepy, you are more likely to doze off behind the wheel, or at the very least, be slower to react if needed. When driving, your focus needs to be on the road. Everything else can wait. If you absolutely HAVE to deal with a child in the backseat, an important phone call, etc., then pull over and take the time to deal with it. If you feel yourself getting too tired to safely pay attention to the road, pull off and snooze in a public area until you feel like you can handle your car safely. Nothing, neither time saved nor a phone call answered, is worth the lives of you, your passengers, or another driver.
In close ties with the “distraction” issue, intersections (read: red lights and stop signs) tend to be common sites for vehicle accidents. Whether you aren’t paying attention, driving too fast, or simply get caught in poor weather conditions, running a red light or a stop sign is one of the biggest causes for collisions on the road. Think about how many times you have seen a yellow light and “squeezed” to get through it before it turns red. This is a dangerous practice, and if you do this often, your chances of an accident are significantly increased. Unfortunately, many of these intersection accidents turn serious, because it means a driver hitting someone at either a high speed, and/or hitting another vehicle that was already stopped. Make sure you are paying close attention to all that red when you are behind the wheel of your car. Saving a few seconds by speeding up to get through the light isn’t as important as your safety.
Rules of the Road
If you took driver’s education courses at any point, you know how to read road signs, know about speed limits, and if you were a really great driving student, might even know how to parallel park well on the first try. However, the longer you drive and the more you fall into habits, the more dangerous you can be behind the wheel of a car. Issues such as speeding, especially during poor weather conditions, are a leading cause of automobile accidents. When you are driving, pay close attention to all road signs. This means not only the speed limit signs, but also signs specific to areas of the road that may hold hazards (sharp curves, steep grades, etc.). If the weather turns nasty, adjust your speed and make sure you pull off if visibility is limited or you feel you can no longer safely keep control of your car. You are far better to arrive a few moments later at your destination and be there safely than to push in a time crunch and end up in the hospital (or worse).
We hope you think on this post the next time you climb behind the wheel of your vehicle. Our main goal is to prevent accidents from happening, but if you find yourself in a situation of being at fault in a vehicle collision and you need someone to help you through the process, give us a call. Sessums Law Group is proud to serve the greater Sebring area, and we are here for YOU. We will make sure your case is handled fairly and that you are protected as much as possible.
Happy driving and stay safe. Remember if something unexpected happens and you need legal help: WE STAND FOR YOU!