Since 1994, I have handled a countless number of personal injury cases in Dallas, Fort Worth and throughout North Texas. Because the vast majority of those cases involved car accidents, I have come up with my top five most common causes of car accidents:
1. Driving While Intoxicated or Under the Influence. Car accidents due to drunk driving are all too common. Alcohol accounts for almost 16,000 car accident injuries per year. Texas ranks among the highest in drunk driving fatalities. Of all traffic accident fatalities, almost 40% are alcohol related. And this statistic only includes those fatalities where the driver had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit (0.08). These are “sobering” statistics and should not be taken lightly. The next time you decide to go out on the town, be smart. If you drink too much, just remember that you are putting yourself and other motorists at risk.
2. Speeding. Speed kills! Statistics clearly show a direct relationship between speed and and increase in traffic deaths and serious personal injuries. With higher speeds, there is a decrease in the amount of time to react and avoid danger. Additionally, higher speeds will compromise your control of the vehicle. And just because you are driving the speed limit does not mean you are not “speeding.” Under Texas law, speeding is defined as driving at a speed that is unreasonable for the circumstances. Some of those conditions might include the amount of traffic, roadway conditions, bad weather, and poor lighting.
3. Driver Inattention. Many accidents can be avoided by paying close attention to your driving environment. Be aware of the vehicles around you and be defensive when interacting with other cars on the roadway. Just because you have the right of way does not mean it’s safe to proceed. Always be on the lookout for other vehicles that may be doing the wrong thing. And most importantly, leave your cell phone alone when you are driving. In Texas, for example, using your cell phone is illegal while in a school zone. It won’t be long until Texas cracks down on texting and driving, and all other cell phone use while driving.
4. Fatigue. It goes without saying that a sleepy driver is a dangerous driver. When you are drowsy, driving can have a hypnotic effect. Without you even knowing it, you may fall asleep at the wheel. With long-haul truck drivers, fatigue can be a major cause of trucking accidents. That is why truck drivers are required to get a certain number of hours of sleep before they can resume driving activities. Additionally, they keep “sleep logs” where they must record their driving times as well as all breaks, meals and rest periods.
5. Following too Closely. Keep your distance and stop tailgating. It’s no wonder that the vast majority of the car accident cases I handle are read-end collisions. As a general rule, your should be no less than one second behind the vehicle ahead of you for every ten miles per hour. Likewise, if you are traveling 40 mph, you should be at least 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you (when counting from a fixed point). If everyone kept a safe distance from each other, not only would many accidents be avoided, but traffic would flow more smoothly.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact Robert C. Slim, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation and personal case review.