Car accidents are relatively common, but certain precautions can be taken to substantially lower the likelihood of getting into a crash, and mitigate any possible injuries
Driving is an activity most of us take for granted every day. It is simply part of our commute, and our daily lives. However, such an activity should not be taken for granted. It is still extremely dangerous, and it is important to appreciate this danger, evaluate it, and have a plan of action whenever you get behind the wheel.
How Many Car Accidents Happen on Average in Florida?
Every year, about between 300,000 – 400,000 car crashes occur in Florida. Looking closely at the numbers, around 140,000-170,000 (44%) crashes include injuries, and about 3,000 (.8%) of those crashes caused deaths.
With that being said, looking only at car crashes that cause injuries or fatalities do not always paint a fully accurate picture. Accidents that cause injuries tend to cause multiple injuries.
In 2020, 212,535 people were injured in car accidents, and 3,347 people perished. While this may seem like a large number it is not all bad. Of the 15,000,000 licensed drivers that live in Florida, that means that only 1% of them were seriously injured in a vehicular crash, and substantially less than 1% actually died due to the crash.
In Hillsborough county, in 2020, there were about 24,166 car crashes, with about 16,460 injuries and 215 deaths. With about 1,000,000 licensed drivers in Hillsborough drivers these numbers don’t seem too bad. And they certainly are good numbers. However, there are some important caveats to analyze.
First, it is important to emphasize that while your chance of getting in a car crash every year is low, you chance of being in a crash with serious injuries is extremely high if you are in an accident. In fact, if you find yourself in a crash, your odds of being in a crash with serious injuries is about 44%. In addition, these are yearly numbers.
Most drivers operate their vehicles for more than one year at a time, and certainly will find themselves at the mercy of these statistics every year. Furthermore, because people do drive many years throughout their life, dying in a vehicular crash is one of the highest causes of death in the United States, with about 1 out of 100 persons meeting their end in this way.
These statistics should not alarm, but instead should push you to make sure you don’t get into a car crash, and make sure you know what to do if you do.
What Causes Car Accidents?
Some car accidents are freak incidents that occur when all drivers and passengers involved are driving safely taking all the necessary precautions. However, the good news is that many car crashes can be avoided, or at least, the chance of severe injury lowered. Before we get into what precautions you should take, we first have to analyze what causes car accidents.
Every driver has a duty of care to other drivers on the road. It is every other driver’s right to be able to assume that other drivers will operate their vehicles with care, giving the road their full attention, and following the applicable laws.
When a person fails to do this, and causes a car crash, they have committed negligence. Negligence is a legal cause of action, and you can recover damages if the other driver was indeed operating their vehicle in a negligent manner. There are few common negligent acts:
Driving Under the Influence
A person driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has diminished capacity to understand and process information around them on the road. A driver is assumed to be drunk if they have an alcohol content of .08% or higher, but they can be found to be under the influence if they are affected by any substance. Being under the influence means that they cannot give other drivers on the road the right amount of attention, and therefore, they are negligent.
Looking back at your dog, having boisterous passengers in the car, or texting and driving are all examples of distracted driving. Evidence that a driver was paying attention to something other than the road could be used to prove negligence.
There is an old saying: “Better late than dead.” Some drivers seem to disagree. Running red lights, speeding, treating stop signs like yield signs, suddenly switching lanes, are all examples of pure carelessness. When a driver does not show care for other drivers while on the road, they are negligent.
While most crashes occur because of one of the negligent factors above, another very common cause of vehicular crashes is bad weather. Bad weather can cause dangerous roadways, and make drivers lose control of their vehicles. Divers certainly can be negligent if they do not drive with an additional caution when it is storming. However, bad weather can cause accidents even where no driver is negligent.
What Precautions Can I Take When Driving?
After reading all of these statistics, and the cause of car crashes, you may be worried about driving down the road. This need not be the case. If you have a plan, you can lower your chance of being in an accident, or, at the very least, lower your chance of being seriously injured.
Wear a seat belt at all times
The chance of perishing in a car crash is fairly low, all things considered. Want to lower your chances even more? Wearing a seatbelt lowers your chance of death in a car crash by 45%, and your risk of serious injury by 50%. It’s that simple.
Put children in the back seat with a restraint or booster seat and seat belt
Think 45% is a good percentage? Try 70%. In SUVs, wearing a backseat seat belt decreases the chance of passenger death by 70%. It is important to have a properly fitting seat belt for your children, so make sure to use a booster seat if needed.
Don’t drive impaired
Even if you are not “drunk,” being under the influence of alcohol can make you slower to react on the road. This slower reaction time can make it easier for you to get into a crash.
It is also important to note that other things besides drugs and alcohol can impair you. It is also important to check your medication to make sure you are not taking something that impairs your ability to drive. And be careful when driving on a lack of sleep. When you don’t have enough fuel in your own tank, it doesn’t matter how much gas you have in your car. If you drive sleepy, you will drive dangerously.
Don’t be distracted
When you’re driving make sure you keep your focus on the road, and make sure you prepare yourself so you can drive safely. Don’t be distracted by your pets or passengers. Don’t look at that car crash you pass by. And do not text and drive. You can’t drive if you aren’t looking at the road. Focus.
Be careful when driving at night or dusk, and inclement weather
You should be very careful when driving at certain times. Where your vision is impaired due to outside conditions, make sure you drive slowly and carefully. In addition, make sure your vehicle has the proper functionality to drive during these conditions. Make sure your lights and windshield wipers are working.
Furthermore, keep a more cautious eye on other drivers. You may be taking more precautions, but other drivers may not. Defensive driving is safe driving.
Even With These Precautions, What Should I do if I End up in a Car Crash?
Being prepared means being prepared for the worst. You should have a plan of action for what to do in a crash in the situation you ever find yourself in such an accident. The following steps will give you the plan you need.
1. Check if everyone involved is okay.
It is extremely important to take a moment and check your own body. Adrenaline can make injuries seemingly invisible to our minds before it wears off. After that check and make sure everyone else involved in the crash is okay.
2. Don’t leave the accident site
At least not until it’s appropriate to do so. Leaving the site early could make you look like the guilty party. Plus, you will want to give your story to the police.
3. Call the Police
Calling the police will allow you to get an accident report. In addition, it may be illegal not to call them if there are injuries or death.
4. Take pictures of the accident
The photographs taken will not only prove that the accident happened but will also show the extent of the damage caused. Take as many as you can from various angles.
5. Acquire all necessary information and contact information of the other driver(s) and witnesses involved
Make sure to get their full name, contact information, insurance company, insurance policy number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and the type, color and model of their vehicle. In addition, note the location of the accident.
6. Contact a personal injury lawyer
It is important to consult with and hire a reputed and experienced lawyer to represent you when you are involved in a car accident. You generally want to do this before you contact your personal insurance company, so you can be informed about what exactly should be said to them.
7. Inform your insurance company about the accident and file a claim
Give them a detailed account of the accident and answer their questions truthfully. Make sure to give them an accurate understanding of your injuries as well.
8. Make sure to keep a record of all of your documents
It is imperative to keep your police report, a copy of your insurance claims, and a copy of all your medical records/bills so that you can show them to your attorney. If your attorney has these documents, they will be able to more effectively represent you.
Driving can be a dangerous activity. Yet, with a plan of action, and proper caution, the activity can become substantially safer. However, if an accident does happen, you should contact a reputable personal injury attorney to evaluate your case.
Bulluck Law Group has years of experience in evaluating, and winning, these cases.
If you are in need of an experienced personal injury lawyer, contact Bulluck Law Group today. We offer a free case evaluation to see if we’re a good fit as well as a No Recovery, No Fee Promise.