The lawyers at Whitehead & Chiocca would like everyone to drive more safely this holiday season when more people are traveling and driving around town. Every driver is guilty of making mistakes, some a lot more than others. One driving mistake can change drastically change a person’s life forever. The roads would be a lot safer if everyone paid more attention to driving properly. Here are a number of things to avoid doing while driving:
- SWERVING – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), running off the road or failing to stay in your own lane led to the death of over 15,000 people in 2007. Be careful when you change lanes and always make sure you avoid exiting the road.
- DRIVING WHILE SLEEPY – The NHTSA has confirmed that more traffic fatalities occur between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. when people are used to being asleep. Obviously, if you fall asleep while driving something bad is going to happen.
- DRIVING DRUNK – In 2007, the NHTSA determined that over 60% of the people who died in car accidents after dark were due to someone being drunk. There is an alcohol related car accident death every 40 minutes in the United States. Everyone knows that drunk driving is dangerous. The consequences are severe for both the injured person as well as the drunk driver if there is an accident.
- SPEEDING – Driving too fast for the road conditions is the second leading cause of car accident related deaths. The higher the speed at which an accident occurs, the more likely the people in the cars are to be hurt or killed.
- OVERCORRECTING – When people panic and jerk the steering wheel, they fail to regain control. If you accidentally exit the road do not try to swerve back onto the road. Overcorrecting can lead to rollovers and head on collisions on the other side of the road.
- FAILURE TO YIELD RIGHT OF WAY – The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has discovered that failing to yield when merging is the leading cause of crashes for drivers over the age of 70. It was the fifth leading cause of death in all traffic accidents. Make sure you don’t misjudge the speed of oncoming traffic when trying to merge into traffic and always ensure you have enough room to allow the necessary time to merge.
- RECKLESS DRIVING – There are two types of reckless driving in Virginia. One is speeding more than 20 miles per hour above the posted limit (15 mph in 65 mph zones). The other is extreme improper driving, like swerving in and out of traffic and tailgating. It should be common sense for most people to avoid this type of driving. A reckless driving conviction in Virginia takes 6 points off your DMV record and will raise your insurance rates.
- RUNNING RED LIGHTS – Over 41,000 deaths occurred in 2007 according to the NHTSA due to drivers running red lights at intersections. Side impact collisions are much more dangerous than frontal or rear-end ones because there is less to absorb the impact of the oncoming vehicle. Pay attention to traffic lights and make sure that you look both ways before proceeding when your light turns green.
- NOT WEARING A SEATBELT – 76% of the time that a person is ejected from a vehicle, they are killed. One third of all fatalities in car accidents involved people not wearing seatbelts. Seatbelts save lives as we have all heard many times.
- NOT PAYING ATTENTION – Talking on the cell phone and texting while driving have become a leading cause of car accidents over the past decade. This is one area of negligent driving that is increasing as more and more drivers use cell phones. Be careful when talking on the phone and never text while driving.
If you have any questions about what to do after a car accident, please contact Whitehead & Chiocca. We’ll do what we can to help you and your family.