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What Every Driver Needs to Know About Car Accidents

By Viles Beckman | Apr 01, 2019

Understanding the Basics of Why Car Accidents Occur and Why They Are So Dangerous

Since the invention of cars, driving has become one of the most cherished conveniences that we have the privilege of using. Although driving is a major convenience in our modern lives, there’s always the chance of an inconvenient car accident. It is likely that everyone will be involved in a motor vehicle accident at some point in their life; and not everyone walks away with a minor inconvenience, some don’t walk away at all.

Driving defensively, understanding the basics of car accidents, and knowing the possible dangers can increase your chances of avoiding a severe crash. Here’s what every driver should know:

What Types of Road Dangers Cause Car Accidents?

wet roads and rain cause accidents in florida - viles and beckman - fort myers personal injury attorneyOne of the most common causes of car accidents are road dangers that are beyond a driver’s control.

These circumstances may not be avoidable, but how you drive in these situations can be. Always remember to stay alert and avoid distracted driving and you’ll be more than ahead of the game when it comes to ensuring you and your family’s safety.

These hazards include everything from natural occurrences to man-made hazards like construction zones. The following is a list of road dangers that can cause accidents:

  • Bad Weather

In Florida, rain is as unavoidable as snow in the Alps. It is just a normal part of our climate, that unfortunately, often means slippery roads for drivers. On average, wet roads cause 860,286 crashes a year which accounts for 15% of vehicle crashes.

  • Road Design

Roads that are not designed effectively can put drivers at risk. For example, curvy roads and slopes that can cause a driver to lose control

  • Road Maintenance

From potholes to cracks, vehicles that encounter obstacles in the road can blow out a tire causing the driver to lose control.

  • Malfunctioning Traffic Lights

Unsuspecting drivers that may come upon traffic lights or signals that are not working correctly can cause a serious accident. For example, when the power goes out or traffic lights are flashing.

  • Construction Zones

When driving through work zones, it’s crucial for drivers to be alerted with proper signage and warnings before they get within close distance to the road construction site. Any machinery or barriers ahead without forewarning could be a potential accident waiting to happen.

  • Other Roadside Obstacles

Not having a clear view while driving can increase the risk of an accident. Utility poles, odd placement of signs, overgrown roadside bushes and vegetation are all potential hazards.

Vehicle Maintenance and the Impact on Road Safety

You can’t control how other people maintain their vehicles. If a motorist fails to keep their car up to standard, breakdowns and malfunctions can happen, putting other drivers at risk and causing all types of auto accidents.

Here are some common vehicle maintenance problems that can cause a Florida car accident:

Worn-out Brakes cause Accidents

Brakes are critical to road safety. Common reasons for brake failure may include:

  • Moisture in brakes
  • Defective brake hose
  • Corrosion/Rust
  • Brake pad overheating
  • Low or leaking brake fluid
  • Manufacturer defects and faulty parts

Broken Headlights cause Accidents

Headlights are often overlooked for regular maintenance. Malfunctioning or dirty headlights can limit your visibility and driving at night can only make matters worse. Check your lights frequently to ensure they are in proper working order.

Worn-out or Damaged Tires cause Accidents

An unexpected tire blowout can cause a driver to lose control of their car, which can easily lead to an accident. Common reasons for tire blowouts can include:

  • Underinflation
  • High tire pressure
  • Vehicle overload
  • Driving over a pothole
  • Driving over glass, nails or other objects that can cause a puncture
  • Improper alignment
  • Worn-down tread

How Vehicle Defects Can Cause Accidents

It’s always exciting when you purchase a new vehicle, but when it comes with defects, not only does it put a damper on your excitement, your safety on the road can be put at risk. When a part on a car or other motor vehicle malfunctions, it known as a Product Liability Cases.

Common Defective Products In Vehicles

  • Tires
  • Airbags
  • Wiring
  • Seatbelts
  • Fuel systems
  • Steering
  • Vehicle computers​​​​​​​

How Vehicle Defects Can Cause Accidents

There are millions of recalls each year, and defective products in vehicles can cause a host of dangers to both the driver and the passenger. Drivers who may not be aware of certain defects are at an increased risk for injury or worse, death. For example, a faulty airbag that does not deploy or deploys too forcefully can cause the following injuries:

  • Brain injuries
  • Eye injuries
  • Broken bones

What is Product Liability?

Anyone who has been injured due to a vehicle defect may be entitled to a product liability claim. The following are the three types of product liability.

  • Design Defects – Product designs that may be deemed unreasonably dangerous
  • Manufacturing Defects – Product flaws due to production errors
  • Marketing Defects – This happens when a manufacturer knows about certain defects but does not give the consumer ample warning, or if the product is not labeled with sufficient instructions.

Drunk Driving and Car Accidents

Even though most people understand what the ramifications can be for drinking and driving, people are hurt or killed in car accidents every day. Drunk driving combined with other dangers on the road only compounds the likelihood of a serious or deadly car accident.

What is the Dram Shop Liability?

The state of Florida has implemented the Dram Shop Act that holds social hosts and restaurants/bars liable for accidents caused by individuals who became intoxicated in their home or establishment. Anyone who is injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver that came from any of the locations as mentioned earlier could file for additional damages. Family members may also be able to file a suit if a loved one has died in a drunk driving accident.

How Drivers Are Impaired After Drinking

A driver who decides to get in their car after drinking alcohol puts themselves and others in harm’s way. Alcohol can impair the following:

  • Reaction time
  • Judgment
  • Concentration
  • Comprehension/Interpretation
  • Coordination
  • Vision

How Drivers Get Distracted on the Road

Drivers who are distracted increase their risk of causing a car accident. Unlike certain road dangers, distracted driving can be avoidable. Some common distractions include:

Cell Phone Use while Driving

Texting or talking on the phone while driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents and in the state of Florida, it is illegal.

Taking Eyes Off The Road while Driving

Whether attending to children arguing in the backseat or peering at a broken down vehicle, taking eyes off the road for five seconds at 55 miles per hour equates to driving the length of a football field practically with your eyes closed.

Eating or Drinking while Driving

Eating or drinking a beverage while driving means you have to take your hands off the steering wheel. Even though cup holders may be convenient for keeping your drink within reach, it’s best to save your sips for when your car is in park or when you reach your destination.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries sustained. Contact Viles & Beckman, LLC by calling (239) 334-3933 or  through our online form to get a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can answer all of your questions and explain your rights.

 

Rain on Road Image Attributed to Lifeofgalileo from Wikimedia Commons