Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Dangers of Intersections and the Modern Car

Intersections are often a place for some folks to check their text messages, take a sip of coffee, or gaze at their hair in the mirror as they idle towards the light or stop sign.  Unfortunately, intersections should not be seen as places for a “break” from driving.  This is due to the fact that intersections are the most dangerous portion of a roadway.  Intersections are dangerous for a number of reasons, but one of the main factors is due to congestion.  With more cars in your immediate area, you are more likely to get in a wreck.  Another reason intersections are so dangerous is because we are carelessly relaxed and distracted behind the wheel.  The distracted driver approaching an intersection can often lead to a significant increase in the likelihood of a collision. 

Does your Comfy Car make you too Relaxed Behind the Wheel?
A comfortable car is exceptional; we all want that, but are we too comfortable?  Some modern vehicles have perfectly cushioned lumbar support seats, heated seats, high-end speakers, GPS, cellphones, climate control, and suspensions where you barely feel a bump on the road.  And of course, who can have a car trip without their favorite cold soda and a snack in the middle console? Driving a car can feel almost like you are driving around your favorite couch from home.  The creature comforts in late model vehicles are great, but does this coziness lull us into a false sense of relaxation?  According to the NHTSA, driving in a state of drowsiness causes 100,000 collisions a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths. Furthermore, in 2012, drivers who were overly relaxed behind the wheel caused 3,328 fatalities. 

It is important to remember that you are driving a huge, powerful chunk of metal that causes serious injuries and deaths each year.  Comfort is fine, but that does not mean it is time to completely let your guard down.  One must maintain a level of attentiveness to protect yourself and those around you.  Just a couple of nanoseconds of not paying attention could cause catastrophic destruction, especially since our vehicles are getting bigger and faster every year.  Over the past thirty years, the average vehicle horsepower has increased by eighty percent.  Furthermore, an ordinary new vehicle has expanded from 3,221 pounds in 1987 to 4,009 pounds in 2010.  Driving such gigantic and powerful machinery carries great weight. 

What are the Facts on Accidents Occurring at Intersections?
According to a report conducted by the National Highway and Traffic Administration, 2,307,000 crashes occur at intersections each year. Of those accidents, 7,421 are fatal.   Additionally, older people are more likely victims of an intersection accident.  Individuals over the age of 65 made up nearly 54 percent of all accident at the intersection. Furthermore, women are more likely than men to get in an accident at an intersection. Women are 9 percent more likely the victim of an intersection-related accident than men. 

What about the Minor Fender-Benders that Involve Whiplash?
Fender benders and rear-end accidents are frequent events at intersections. Often times, the accident does not cause enormous damage to the vehicle, but they can cause severe whiplash.  According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when your head swiftly moves backward and then forward. These extreme motions jerk your neck muscles and ligaments outside their regular range of motion. Some people recover from whiplash easily, while others develop chronic pain from their whiplash.

·         tenderness along the back of the neck and shoulders,
·         neck swelling,
·         muscle spasms,  
·         difficulty flexing, extending, or rotating the head,
·         headache,
·         difficulty concentrating,
·         sleep disturbances,
·         fatigue,
·         jaw tightness or difficulty chewing
Frequently, pain and injuries are not apparent to the victim until some time after the incident.  This is why it is imperative that you see your doctor immediately after even the slightest fender bender to see if you are injured or not. Furthermore, it is wise to contact an experienced car crash attorney after an accident as you may be entitled to compensation for damages caused by a negligent individual or corporation.  Whiplash injuries have the potential to leave you with stacks of medical bills. 

The above information is from: Whiplash, EmedicineHealth , (last visited Oct. 7, 2014).

So what Behaviors should I avoid to keep my Family Safe?
Just knowing that intersections are dangerous does not make anyone additionally protected.  You need to know common causes of intersection crashes.  Once you know what behaviors are dangerous, you can alter your conduct accordingly to decrease the risk of harm to you and your family. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a report that showed the following data:

·         44% of intersection-related crashes are due to drivers not paying adequate attention to their surroundings. 
·         22% of accidents at intersection happen when making a left-hand turn.
·         8.4% of intersection-related collisions were produced by a driver’s false of assumption of another’s action.
·         7.6% of accidents were caused by a driver turning with an obstructed view. 

The above information is from the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations report entitled:  Crash Factors in Intersection-Related Crashes: An On-Scene Perspective (September 2010).

According to the facts above, there are several simple things your can do to decrease the likelihood of getting in an accident at an intersection.  First, remind yourself that the intersection is not a place where you can let your guard down.  It is imperative that you pay attention to your surroundings at all times behind the wheel.  Second, do not try to guess what the other driver is going to do next.  You are only in control of your vehicle, and you cannot assume that the other guy is not distracted.  Third, make sure you have nothing blocking your view before you make that turn.  It is just not worth it if you do not know if you have a clear path.  Making a turn without knowing it is safe could lead to injuries and death for many people.  Finally, do not break the law.  The laws are in place for a reason.  Some laws are put into place after a certain act has found to statically increase your risk of injury. Thus, you can decrease your chances of injury by just not breaking the law.  Moreover, others drivers rely on the law of the road too, so if you make an unexpected or illegal maneuver you can bet that other drivers will probably not expect your unlawful move.

Contact Clearwater and Tampa Injuries Lawyers
Getting into a car accident is always frustrating.  The entire staff at Dolman Law Group make it their priority to help victims through these difficult times.  The firm is comprised of 7 Licensed Florida Attorneys which have represented countless victims. Our attorneys are experience in guiding clients through difficulties.  We give clients peace of mind so they can focus on healing from their injuries. 

Should you ever encounter the tragic scenario of an intersection collision know your rights and speak with the award winning attorneys at Dolman Law Group.  Our consultation is always free and we only earn a fee if we make a recovery for you.  Call 727-451-6900 for more information.

800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756
(727) 451-6900