Car accidents are all too common, and plenty dangerous to boot. You can take as many precautions as you want, but there are inevitable risks that you may not be able to anticipate at every moment. This is not to say that you should feel paranoid about driving, just conscious about what you may have to deal with while on the road. In order to help you better understand the potential risks, we are going to look at some of the most common causes of car accidents in Pennsylvania.
Most common causes of car accidents in Pennsylvania
Distracted driving is a pernicious threat, one that takes way too many lives. Some things are more distracting than others, and in turn, will create more risk than others. In a lot of situations, distractions are going to be an inevitability. The real challenge is to avoid those distractions the best that you can. For example, if you are feeling hungry while driving, you should make sure you have time and a spot to stop to eat and hydrate. This is not always reasonable to do, however, as people have schedules to which they must adhere. Some things are easier to avoid, such as using your phone. It doesn’t matter if you are talking hands-free, talking on the form normally, or texting, all of these are dangerous activities. Some may express some skepticism about hands-free talking falling under this, but it’s true. One of the big reasons why is because the person you are talking to is disconnected from your environment, the only thing they can really do being to hear your voice. As such, they have no idea how much the conversation is distracting you, and from what. Meanwhile, having a person in the car having that chat means that you have someone who can keep an eye on the road and adjust the conversation where appropriate. For instance, if the weather is taking a turn and the road is becoming slippery from rain, they have the ability to cease the discussion, and pointedly, to make sure that you keep your attention on what matters.
Of course, distracted driving is not the only kind of way a person can be negligent behind the wheel. All too many car accidents in Pennsylvania are the product of the consumption of drugs and alcohol, both of which cause serious inebriation and a diminished ability to drive your vehicle safely. If you intend to do anything involving the consumption of inebriating substances, you should make absolutely sure that you have a way to get back that does not involve you getting behind the wheel yourself. There are more than enough ways to pull this off. For one, you can ask a friend or family member to serve as a designated driver, allowing you to let loose and have a little fun without worrying about getting into a car accident. Another option is to just call an Uber, Lyft, or any other cab company to help get you home. But in either instance, do be careful — people do not take kindly to you throwing up in their vehicle, so don’t over-indulge.
People also have a tendency to get a little antsy about being on the road, leading to them rushing as fast as they can to get from Point A to Point B. Speeding is illegal, and for good reason: the faster a person goes, the more difficult it is for them to keep their vehicle under control. Perhaps 9 times out of 10 you do not experience any issue with your speeding, but saving time and saving gas is not worth the risk the potential situation where that 1 time is going to rear its ugly head.
Of course, a lot of car accidents are caused by multiple factors which often exacerbate each other in a vicious cycle. Talking on the phone, drinking alcohol, speeding, all of these things are a bad time on their own when behind the wheel. However, when other factors are introduced, these become all the more dangerous. For example, bad weather is a threat that can easily get someone in a car accident, even if they are doing everything right. These kinds of things can take people by surprise, so it is no surprise that they may not be able to adequately handle the weather change. But when you are speeding, for instance, it is going to be more difficult to get your vehicle under control in the event that icy or slippery roads cause you to slip and go off the road. Alcohol also lowers your reaction time, so if you do start to hydroplane in a thunderstorm, for example, every extra moment you take to react is a moment that the situation gets worse. Distracted driving also creates opportunities for the weather to catch you by surprise, taking your eyes off the road and splitting your attention between an action you need to do (driving) and an action that you can do without at that time (texting, fiddling with the radio, eating, etc.). Make sure that you avoid all of these things, but especially make sure that you take this to heart when the weather gets bad.
And finally, frankly, sometimes car accidents just happen because they are bad drivers. Even people who get a license might have rough areas in their driving skill set, especially over time, as the rules of the road wear off, or their abilities degrade. Someone may change lanes without considering those in the lane you’re switching to. Someone else may decide to take a turn improperly, either missing the signs on the proper ways to turn or forgetting how to read them. People also have an unfortunate tendency of driving too close behind other vehicles, making it more difficult for them to react in the event that the vehicle in front of them has to suddenly stop. In order to avoid this happening, you should make sure that you allow for a distance of approximately one car length for every 10 miles you are driving. So 70 miles comes out to seven car lengths.
If you have found yourself in a car accident, either an accident where you were a victim of another’s negligence, one where you were accused of negligence, or you are simply trying to get justice for the damages you have sustained, it is paramount to contact a lawyer specializing in these kinds of cases, such as Williamsport car accident lawyer Cliff Rieders. In doing so, you will increase the likelihood that your case is handled quickly and competently.