Washington State had a total of 81,144 car accidents last year. While 70% of them didn’t result in any apparent injuries, the accidents themselves cost a lot of money and emotional pain.
If you are deemed the “at-fault” driver in a car accident and previously had an accident-free record, then your insurance premium could increase by an average of 48%. You may also be held responsible for various fees, replacement parts, and additional costs, depending on the type and severity of the accident.
So, the goal is to not get into any motor vehicle accidents, especially to avoid being the “at-fault” driver. To avoid injury and financial heartache, you should be aware of the most common kinds of car accidents that occur and how to avoid them.
2,605 car crashes resulted in fatal or suspected serious injuries in Washington State last year. Speeding was responsible for 673 of them. Exceeding the speed limit and driving at an unsafe speed are among the most common causes of car accidents.
Pay attention to your speed and the speed limits assigned to the roads you’re on, and don’t go over them. Stay alert and keep your distance from cars that are driving too fast. They might be distracted, driving under the influence, or simply don’t care enough to be respectful of others on the road. Sometimes there is nothing that you can do to avoid getting in an accident, but to obey the speed limit and to remain vigilant.
Everyday, us commuters see fellow drivers on their smart phones … in plaint sight. Distracted drivers are responsible for more than 1,000 injuries and nine deaths per day in the US. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving and includes many activities which takes our eyes and attention away from the road, such as:
- Receiving social media alerts
- Reading texts/emails and responding
- Eating and drinking
- Turning your head when talking to other people in your vehicle
- Talking on your phone
- Shaving or applying makeup
- Playing with your navigation system,
Think of it this way: if you’re going 60mph on the highway and you take 5 seconds to read a text, your eyes are off the road for the length of an entire football field. So much can happen in that amount of time, and if you’re distracted, then you may not be ready for it. When you’re behind the wheel, driving is your main priority. If you need to eat or respond to a text, it’s best to do it while you’re parked.
Failing to Obey Traffic Safety Devices
Intersections are a notoriously common place for car accidents to occur. If someone runs a red light or goes through a stop sign and another driver isn’t ready for it or can’t get out of the way, a collision is inevitable.
Always follow the basic rules of traffic lights and always look before driving through an intersection, just in case. A green light does not mean look straight and drive straight, until and after you have checked for oncoming or intersecting traffic. You never know when another driver isn’t paying attention.
Not Yielding to Right-of-Way
The rules of right-of-way usually appear on more than one question on your driving test; the reason is because failing to know and follow these rules results in more motor vehicle accidents. All licensed drivers should know who goes first at a crosswalk or roadway.
- Oncoming traffic always has the right-of-way
- The vehicle who enters an intersection first has the right-of-way (if two vehicles reach the intersection at the same time, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way)
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks
- Vehicles in driveways must yield to traffic before merging on the roadway
- Changing lanes and merging right of left must yield and be sure there is a safe distance, otherwise you are cutting off other vehicles.
Driving Under the Influence
The Insurance Information Institute shows that intoxicated drivers are responsible for nearly 30% of all traffic fatalities. Alcohol alone is responsible for 10,000 fatal car accidents each year in the United States.
Driving under the influence can impair your coordination, comprehension, vision, your ability to concentrate, and slow your reaction time. If you’re not 100% cognizant when you’re about to get behind a wheel, then don’t. Even if you have only had a few alcohol beverages, you should get a ride from a friend or order a ride home from a ride share app. The consequences of a DUI are severe, including loss of license, loss of insurance, jail time, and of course, loss of life. It is never worth it to drive under the influence of any alcoholic or mind-altering drug.
If You’re in a Car Accident, Then Hire a Lawyer
Car accidents can leave you physically hurt, emotionally frustrated, and confused about what to do. Even as the victim, you could find yourself fighting insurance companies to get compensated. An auto accident lawyer can champion your accident claim by helping you navigate the claims process.
Being a great driver sometimes isn’t enough to avoid getting into a collision, but a dedicated and experienced lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.