In Georgia, car accidents are the second leading cause of injury deaths and the second leading cause of hospitalization and emergency room visits. Accidents can occur for a number of reasons, including dangerous behavior on the part of drivers. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk of an accident and keep yourself safer out on the road. Take a look at some of the most common types of car accidents in Georgia and how you can avoid them.
Speed is a contributing factor in approximately one out of three car accidents. Drivers often choose to increase their speed above safe levels when they get in a hurry out on the road: they get behind, get stuck in traffic, or otherwise find themselves struggling, and choose to speed in an effort to decrease the time they have to spend driving. Unfortunately, speeding not only increases the risk of an accident, since it means that drivers will need to respond faster to potential dangers in order to avoid an accident, it also increases the severity of the accident. At high rates of speed, vehicles may face more force in a collision, which typically means more severe injuries and damage to the vehicles.
Keeping Yourself Safe From Speeding
You cannot control whether other drivers choose to speed around you, but you can control your own speed. Get in the habit of leaving before you think you need to leave in order to account for traffic and potential hazards. In addition, if you do see a speeding driver on the road, give them room to get around you. Do not try to block them into place.
2. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving accounts for between 8 and 9% of traffic fatalities each year. It may contribute to even more accidents with injuries: more than 300,000 people suffer injuries in distracted driving accidents each year.
Distracted driving includes any behavior behind the wheel that takes the driver’s eyes, hands, or attention away from the task of driving. Drivers may suffer from distraction not only when checking a phone — a common form of distraction, and one that is illegal in Georgia—but also eating and drinking, changing the radio, or even talking to a passenger. Many drivers do not think twice about engaging in potentially dangerous or distracting behavior behind the wheel.
Avoiding Distraction on the Road
When behind the wheel, keep your focus on driving. Do not allow your focus to drift to other tasks, including checking your cell phone or makeup. If you need to program a GPS device or set temperature controls, try to take care of those essential tasks before you get behind the wheel.
3. Weather-Related Challenges
In bad weather, many drivers have a hard time keeping their vehicles safely on the road. Georgia typically does not see many days of snow and ice each year. The Atlanta area, for example, generally sees only 48 days per year when the temperature dips below freezing, and just 2.9 inches of snow. However, the area does have a risk of heavy rain and fog, both of which can create substantial challenges for drivers. In bad weather, drivers may struggle with poor visibility or find it more difficult to bring a vehicle to a safe stop.
Staying Safe in Bad Weather
In bad weather conditions, give yourself more time to arrive at your destination and travel at a safe rate of speed. If you cannot see at all or find yourself in highly dangerous conditions, pull off the road to a safe location and wait for the bad weather to pass. Staying out of those conditions not only reduces the risk that you will cause an accident, it may help keep you safe from other drivers who struggle to navigate.
4. Reckless or Aggressive Driving
Reckless and aggressive driving represent a complete disregard for the rules of the road. In many cases, drivers will engage in reckless or aggressive driving tactics because they get frustrated out on the road. Tailgating, for example, often occurs because a driver gets angry at a vehicle in front of him traveling below the speed limit or at a rate of speed he does not consider appropriate for the road around him. Aggressive driving can also result from a driver short on time, or who struggles to take care of necessary tasks.
Avoiding Reckless and Aggressive Driving
When out on the road, pay attention to other drivers around you. Try not to cut off other drivers, and move over if you notice a driver who seems to grow angry, try not to make the situation worse. Move over, if needed, to make room for an aggressive driver. In some cases, you may want to pull off the road to avoid danger to yourself and others in the vehicle with you.
5. Fatigue and Drowsy Driving
All too many drivers will get behind the wheel while tired, often without thinking twice about it. Unfortunately, fatigued driving can lead to many of the same effects you would feel while driving under the influence, including decreased awareness of the road around you. Drowsy drivers can, in a worst-case scenario, even fall asleep behind the wheel.
Staying Safe When Tired on the Road
If you find yourself growing tired on the road, pull over and take a nap. Try to give yourself adequate time before getting behind the wheel in the morning. If you do need to drive late, make sure you have had plenty of rest. Keep in mind that, while caffeine can act as a temporary stimulant, it may not provide enough of a boost to keep you fully awake if you have struggled with tiredness on the road.
Contact an Atlanta Accident Attorney After a Georgia Car Accident
Despite your best efforts, you may end up involved in a catastrophic accident. Often, that means serious injuries, a long road to recovery, and daunting medical bills that can make it difficult for you to recover financially. If someone else’s negligence led to your auto accident, get in touch with an Atlanta accident attorney at Cambre & Associates today to learn more about your rights and how you can protect yourself.