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Tips to Avoid Making An Accident Worse


We cannot control what other drivers do on the road. Another driver’s thoughtless or careless act can change our lives forever in a matter of seconds. It is frustrating and frightening to think that our lives and the lives of our loved ones could be in the hands of a distracted, drunk, speeding, or reckless driver.

Because we cannot control the other drivers, we need to take steps to protect ourselves in the event of an accident. In some cases, we may be able to avoid the accident. If we cannot avoid the accident, there are some things we can do to avoid making the accident worse.

What Can You Do To Protect Yourself On The Road?

  • Putting Your Feet On the Dash

This is probably something most of us have done at some point while riding in a car, especially on long road trips. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous practice that can result in catastrophic injuries in the event of a car crash. For one young woman, the decision to prop her feet up on the dash and take a nap changed her life forever. The physical injuries she suffered included a broken cheek and left eye socket, broken nose, dislocated jaw, broken feet, permanent vision problems, altered memory, and bleeding in the brain. For more details, you can read the entire story here.

According to her mother, she lost a bright, beautiful young woman and got in return an angry 13-year old. Bethany’s story is a tragic, heartbreaking example of how putting your feet up on the dash can make an accident much worse.

  • Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Any distraction that takes your focus off of driving, your eyes off the road, or your hand off the steering wheel is dangerous for you, your passengers, and every other person and bystander in your path. Examples of distracted driving include driving while:

  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Reading, writing, and/or sending a text message
  • Talking to passengers in the car
  • Adjusting the radio or other controls
  • Eating and/or drinking
  • Brushing your hair, putting on makeup, brushing your teeth, or other grooming
  • Watching a video or any other activity that takes your eyes off the road

During 2014, 3,179 people lost their lives and 431,000 people were injured in vehicle accidents involving distracted drivers. It is estimated that 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or other electronic devices at any moment during daylight hours. With this many people on the road driving while distracted, it is not surprising that so many people will lose their lives or be injured in distracted driving accidents this year.

Additionally, regardless if you have caused the accident or not, the accident may become worse if you are a distracted driver. For example, let’s say a driver is traveling the opposite direction of you and is reading a text and crosses into your lane headed straight for you. And let’s say you were unwrapping a candy bar at the same time. This distracted driving may cause you to not notice the driver until it is too late to avoid a head-on collision. Normally, you would swerve to avoid a head-on collision. In this case, the distracted driver may still collide with your vehicle but avoiding a head-on collision may reduce the risk of a fatality or catastrophic injury.

You cannot control what other drivers do while on the road; however, you can take the pledge to distracted-free driving.

  • Obey Traffic Laws

Traffic laws exist for a reason — to protect you and to protect others on the road. Breaking traffic laws not only puts you at risk for a traffic ticket, breaking traffic laws also puts you at a higher risk for catastrophic, life-threatening injuries in an accident. Obviously, drinking and driving or driving while impaired by drugs increases your risk of being involved in an automobile accident; however, speeding can pose an even greater risk.

According to one study, increasing your speed by less than one mile per hour (0.06 mph) increases your risk of being in a crash involving injuries by three percent. Speeding also contributes to the severity of an accident. At an impact speed of approximately 50 mph you are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than at an impact speed of about 20 mph. The faster you are traveling at the time of the impact, the greater chance you have of being seriously injured in a car crash. Reduce your risk by always obeying speed limit laws and other traffic laws.

  • Always Wear Your Seat Belts

Just under 13,000 lives were saved by seat belts during 2014. Since 1975, it is estimated that wearing seat belts has saved approximately 300,000 lives. Seat belts have a 45 to 60 percent effectiveness rate making seat belts one of the best ways to protect you from serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident.

Because seat belts have been shown through studies to be an effective means of preventing deaths in accidents and reducing the severity of injuries in accidents, 34 states have enacted primary seat belt laws and 15 states have enacted secondary seat belt laws. New Hampshire is the only state that does not have a seat belt law for adults. Only children under 18 years of age are required by law to wear a seat belt or be restrained in the appropriate child safety seat. California requires the driver and all passengers to wear a safety restraint.

  • First Aid Kit

In the event you are involved in an automobile accident, emergency medical help could take several minutes or much longer to arrive at the scene. Having an emergency medical kit in your vehicle could reduce the severity of your injuries. You can purchase a pre-made first aid kit or use the checklist provided by the American Red Cross. Reviewing basic first aid techniques is good; taking a first aid class is even better.

Riverside, CA Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys

It is the desire of the personal injury attorneys of Heiting & Irwin that you will not need our services because we hope you always have safe travels. However, if you are injured by a negligent driver, we are ready to help you as you recover from your injuries. We are here to provide the support, guidance, and legal counsel you need as you focus on yourself and your family.

Contact our office online or by calling 951-682-6400 to schedule a free consultation.

Photo Credit: ericayeater via Compfight cc

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