Every day in the United States people are hurt and killed due to someone else’s negligence. In Texas, 3,000 people are killed each year and that number is increasing as the years go by. According to the Texas Department of Transportation statistics of 2017, a person was killed every 2 hours and 21 minutes; a person injured every 2 hours and 4 minutes and one reportable crash occurred every 59 seconds. Most of the DUI crashes happened between 2 and 3 AM and of all days, mostly on Sundays. And while Texas is not the most dangerous state, Dallas is home to one of the deadliest roads in the US. In order to stay safe on the roads, it is important to understand and enforce traffic security rules and laws, otherwise, you will find yourself in need of a car wreck attorney.
Your top priority while on the road should be staying focused. Driving should be your primary task. While driving there are many things you should be paying attention to like the conditions of the road, the road speed compared to your speed, signals, signs, road markings, and everything that is around you. If you are talking on the phone, texting, or eating, your ability to pay attention and react becomes limited. It is easier for drivers with extended road hours to get confident about their driving and start to multitask while on the road, this is extremely dangerous, and how most of the accidents are caused, even though more than 90 towns in Texas prohibit the use of cellphones while driving. According to the statistics, in 2016 alone, there were more than 6,000 auto crashes caused by drivers using their mobile phones.
Another important thing to do is staying alert at all times. Many things can happen in the traffic, some of them you have no control over. Being alert will allow you to react to any threat that comes your way. And again, every distraction should be avoided. Being alert includes, but is not limited to, checking your mirrors frequently and scanning conditions that are ahead of you. If you see someone driving dangerously, do not follow, try to keep up, or impede the person, you should pull over or slow down in order to avoid it. It is important to stay alert for motorcycles, cyclists, and pedestrians as well. If you are too focused on cars you might not be able to see them.
The bigger chances of crashing are ahead of you. Maintaining a safe following distance is essential in order to stay safe on the road. You should maintain at least a 2-second free-space between you and the car in front of you at all times. If the weather is not favorable for driving, that distance should be greater. Maintaining a good following distance will allow you to have time to react to any unexpected braking that the car ahead of you might do.
Planning your trip is also very important in order to make sure you get to your destination safely. The more technology we have, the more we are able to have control over our driving. There is a big variety of GPS and road navigation applications for your phone that provide you turn-by-turn navigation. You can get details for your routes as well as departure and arrival times. By making the best use of these apps, you will be able to drive more safely because (1) you will know when it’s the best time to leave; (2) you will not be in a rush and driving above the speed limit; and (3) you will not have to worry as much about getting the route right. All of the attention that would be wasted doing those things can now can go towards checking your mirrors and the cars around you.
It is also important to know how to handle your driving in different weather conditions. When it is snowing or the roads are icy, make sure you are driving at a speed about 10 miles per hour below the actual speed limit of the road. Make sure there are at least 100 yards in between you and the car in front of you. When making a turn, do not press the brake pedal. If you do so, there are chances that you will spin-out and get out of the road; many accidents happen like this. If you turn into a skid, stay calm and gently turn the wheel in the way that the car is skidding to. This will help the car to correct itself and you can continue to drive safely.
In rainy weather, the threats are a bit different. Although, you still want to make sure you are driving at least 5 or 10 miles below the limit. When you are driving at certain speeds, there are higher chances of your car hydroplaning. If it happens to you, remain calm, and slow down until the car feels normal again. It is also important to be alert of floodings. If your car goes too deep in the water, there is a chance that water ends up in the engine and your car shuts off. When it is too foggy, make sure your fog lights are on. It is crucial to slow down when you are on a hill because seeing the cars stopped will be more difficult. And when entering in a fog bank, make sure you slow down as well, alerting the cars behind you to back off.
If things go wrong, either for your fault or another driver’s, it is important to know how to handle yourself. If you find yourself in a car accident, try to get as far away from oncoming traffic as you can. Enough distance will ensure that no one else is harmed. Secondly, check on the other drivers to see if they are doing fine. If someone is injured call 911 right away. Even for minor accidents, police reports will help you a lot when dealing with an insurance company or a car wreck attorney. Make sure you do not leave the scene without pictures and the other person’s contact information, such as names, plate numbers, insurance information, makes and models of the vehicles, the exact location of the accident, and name or badge number of the police officers that came into the scene. Taking photos is also important as well as filing your insurance claim. There are many reasons why you might want to contact a car wreck attorney later on, but in most cases, it will be because the insurance company is not on your side like you think they would be.