An experienced accident attorney will have assisted numerous auto accident victims with their cases that involved vehicle crashes. You want an attorney who has experience with a variety of accidents from minor fender benders to more severe crashes that involved 18-wheel trucks and train accidents.
It’s important to note that statistics convey that most auto accidents are preventable and often predictable. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, over 90% of all car accidents involve a type of human error, mainly, distracted driving.
Two Important Ways to Prepare
Auto accident lawyers will tell you from their experience that there are a couple of initial ways you can prepare yourself while driving in order to prevent accidents. Both of them have to do with being in the right mindset and then using your knowledge of safe driving techniques in a defensive driving manner. Here are the two primary elements to consider:
Stay Focused – Any action that either takes your mind off of concentrating on the road or your hands off the wheel can potentially be fatal. Distracted Driving is often cited as the leading cause of most accidents today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving
“Distracted driving activities include things like using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction.” (CDC)
Expect the Unexpected – When you’re on the road you are dealing with the general public who are people that just like anybody else are prone to making errors and mistakes. There is no way to know for sure what may happen but if you are prepared, have a plan, you can have a better idea of what to expect. Some examples are:
- Inclement weather – heaving rain, flooding, snow, ice all cause hazardous road conditions. Knowing how to handle your vehicle in these situations and being aware of your surroundings.
- Erratic or aggressive drivers – challenging behavior of other drivers and even simple in-car actions can happen very quickly. This means you have little or no time to contemplate before you react. Keep your distance and check your side and rear view mirrors frequently so you always know where what direction you can go in the case that a sudden stop or evasive maneuver is needed.
“Traffic crashes are not accidents, but are avoidable events caused by a single variable or chain of variables.” Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Control Only The Things You Can Control
While the actions of other drivers, pedestrians, or road crews is out of your personal control, there are some steps you can easily take to reduce your personal risk of crashing. For example, you can do the following:
1.) Keep your vehicle well-maintained;
2.) Learn to anticipate other drivers’ actions;
3.) Plan your route carefully before you go;
4.) Find a safe way to respond to aggressive driving;
5.) Take an area defensive driving course.
What to do after an Auto Accident
Nobody wants to have an auto accident, but sometimes the unavoidable happens. If you’re in a car accident, first review if you are anyone in the vehicle is injured. that no one riding in the vehicle is injured. Next, be sure any pedestrians, passers-by, or passengers in the other car are safe. Then, you will want to be sure you do the following things to protect yourself and your family.
Note: Never leave the accident site or scene. Even if you are not at fault, if you leave, you could have serious legal consequences, including arrest, fines, or other violations.
- Check for injuries – first review if you are anyone in the vehicle is injured,
- If injured; Call ‘911’, don’t move until help arrives to prevent further injury.
- Stay calm – Do not argue or get into any conflict with the other driver. Once law enforcement arrives, answer questions as thoroughly as you can so they can complete their investigation.
- Call the insurance provider to report your car accident. Pittman, Dutton, & Hellums, P.C. from Birmingham, AL suggest you get the following information when reporting a car accident
- The driver and/or owner’s name
- The names and addresses of any passengers
- The make, model, and year of all vehicles involved
- The names and addresses of any witnesses
- Photographs of the scene, including damage to the vehicles and injuries
Driving safely is a constant thing to keep first and foremost in your mind whether you are behind the wheel or a passenger. There are times, however, when no matter how much preparation you have had or safety knowledge you apply, accidents happen. These comprehensive safety tips provide an excellent overview into ways to drive safely, defensively, and to protect you.