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Can Stress Lead to a Car Accident?

Picture1In 2013, 424,000 people were injured and 3,154 people died in vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers. It is estimated that almost 660,000 drivers are using electronic devices or cell phones at any given time on our country’s highways, interstates, and roads. When you take your eyes off the road to send or read a text, you can easily cause a devastating car accident because you are distracted.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving safely. Examples of distracted driving are:

  • Eating
  • Grooming
  • Talking
  • Texting
  • Stressful/Emotional Driving

Stress can cause you to lose focus while driving. It could be something positive like planning a wedding or a holiday gathering, or it could be something negative like worrying about how you will pay your bills because you just lost your job. Regardless of the reason why you are under stress, you should take steps to prevent distracted driving because of stress.

When you drive in an emotional state, you put everyone on the road at risk. The best way to decrease the risk of distracted driving due to stress is by educating the public of the dangers of emotional driving.

What Can I do to Avoid Emotional Driving?

We may not be able to avoid emotional driving because we cannot turn off the stress in our lives as we do the kitchen light. When you are feeling stressed or emotional, it is a good idea to follow these tips to reduce the risk that you cause an accident due to distracted driving caused by stress.

  • Pull the vehicle over to a safe location and take deep breaths to relax if you find that you are feeling overly anxious, angry, or depressed. You can take a short walk or just sing a song with the radio in order to relieve some of the tension before getting back on the road.

  • Do not put yourself in the position of being hurried or rushed. Leave in time to allow yourself a few extra minutes to arrive at your destination. This will help you avoid becoming irritated or angry when you are in heavy traffic or are dealing with a distracted driver.

  • Do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle immediately after a traumatic, upsetting, or overly exciting event. It will be much more difficult to concentrate on your driving in an emotional state. Give yourself a few minutes to calm down before you get behind the wheel.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Car accidents occur for a variety of reasons. Even if you take every precaution to avoid emotional driving and other driving habits that increase your risk of causing a car accident, this does not mean that another person will take the same precautions. If you are in a car accident, the steps you take immediately following the accident can have a substantial impact on your rights.

  • Get medical attention for injuries. Call for emergency medical assistance if required or see your family doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. You may not realize how seriously you are injured until a day or two after the accident. It is always in your best interest to see a doctor after any car accident.

  • Call the police. Notify law enforcement of the accident. If a police officer investigates the accident, make sure you obtain a copy of the accident report.

  • Get driver and witness information. Before you leave the scene of the accident, make sure you have the names and contact information for the other driver and all eyewitnesses. Also note the make, model, and license number of the other vehicle and ask the driver for his or her insurance information.

  • Take photographs. If possible, take photographs of the accident scene and the vehicles or ask someone to take photographs for you. This can help your car accident attorney as he or she prepares your personal injury claim if fault is in question.

  • Do not speak to the insurance company. The insurance company may request a recorded or written statement and a medical release. It is in your best interest to consult with an attorney before you speak with the insurance company for the other driver. Something you say or excess information you provide could hurt your claim.

  • Call Heiting & Irwin, Experienced Accident Attorneys – Contact our office as soon as possible after a car accident so that we can take steps to investigate the accident to identify and preserve key evidence to use in your claim.

How Can Heiting & Irwin Attorneys At Law Help You As You Try to Recover From a Car Accident?

As experienced car accident attorneys, we understand California personal injury laws that apply to car accidents. The insurance company for the other driver wants to pay you the least amount possible to settle your claim. However, your claim is often worth much more. As your attorney, we will protect your right to receive the maximum compensation allowable by law. Settling a car accident claim without an attorney may result in a much lower settlement amount.

Let our personal injury attorneys take care of the legal aspects of your car accident claim while you focus on what is truly important — your recovery and your family. Contact our office by calling 951-682-6400 or by using our online contact form. We offer a free case evaluation and consultation so that you can get answers to all of your accident questions. Contact us today.

Sara Morgan

Ms. Morgan obtained her Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. She contributes to the improvement of both the local and legal communities, having provided pro- and low-bono legal services, and volunteering at legal clinics and other programs serving the community. View Attorney Sara Morgan's Attorney Bio Here.

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