To an outsider, California drivers probably appear to be skillful, practiced and observant, given the number of cars on our highways and the number of lanes they populate. But a recent study indicates that risky driving habits are taking a surprisingly high toll, and that drivers have taken a fatalistic attitude, believing that nothing can be done to stop accidents from happening. Vehicle crashes lead to injuries and often to death. As a driver, are you willing to accept this as the normal course of events?
The NSC statistics
The National Safety Council released a report showing that 2016 California traffic deaths were up 14 percent from 2015. Over the past two years, the increase was 19 percent. State traffic safety personnel were surprised by such a steep increase, which showed that the major causes were speeding, distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Unsafe driving behavior
Speed is definitely a problem on California highways. For every 10 miles per hour over 50, the possibility of a traffic fatality is doubled. Other unsafe driving practices are just as concerning, and following too closely is one example. In order to judge how long it will take to stop once you see the brake lights of the car ahead come on, you have to factor in the perception distance, then reaction distance – moving your foot from accelerator to brake – and finally, braking distance, or how long it will be before your vehicle stops.
On California freeways especially, passing has its anxious moments. Although most people pay attention, use the proper signals and make a safe pass, others become impatient, use too much speed, cut it too closely and endanger themselves and surrounding vehicles. Making an improper lane change can lead to a very serious accident.
Ignoring the right of way
Drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol are frequently at fault for ignoring red lights and stop signs, but anyone can be guilty of a right-of-way violation. A driver should scan the intersection by looking left, then straight ahead, then right and finally, left again. This represents a delay of two seconds, but that can be enough to avoid a collision.
When an accident does happen
Given the amount of time that many California drivers spend on the road, believing that traffic accidents cannot be prevented is understandable. This is especially true if you become the victim of a crash; and unfortunately, your life can be altered in a split second. If you are involved in an accident, you will need help dealing with the aftermath, and you can turn to an experienced personal injury attorney for advice, support and representation.