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What are the Top 5 Causes of Car Accidents?

11-28-21    

rear-end-car-wreck

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s estimates, around 36,680 people died in 2020 due to motor vehicle traffic crashes—the largest number of deaths since 2007. This rise is despite the smaller number of cars on the road last year, while we socially-distanced, stayed and worked from home, and generally got out less during the pandemic.

What’s caused this spike in fatal car accidents in the last year? And why is 2021 projected to be even worse? There are five main reasons that people get into car crashes. If you can, avoid the following so you don’t become a statistic!

1. Distracted Drivingwoman-driving-while-texting

Research from the American Automobile Association’s Traffic Safety Division has found that between a quarter and a half of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving. But what is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that moves your attention from traffic on the road ahead to something else. These activities include the following:

  • Talking—and especially texting—on cell phones
  • Rubbernecking
  • Driver fatigue
  • Looking at scenery on the side of the road
  • Engaging with passengers or children
  • Adjusting the radio, CD player, or other aspect of the car’s infotainment system
  • Reading books, maps newspapers or other documents
  • Eating
  • Self-grooming

2. Drunk Driving

The NHTSA reports that about 32% of all traffic fatalities in America are caused by drunk drivers. Remember—though the legal limit for blood-alcohol level in Ohio is 0.08, it’s safer to establish a sober, designated driver for the night. The only way to prevent being at-fault for a drunk driver accident is to not drink and drive.

3. Speeding

Speed is one of the deadliest factors in any car accident: as you increase your speed, you decrease the time you have to react and avoid a crash, you increase your risk of crashing, and you increase the severity of any crash you’re in. In fact, drivers’ increased speed due to emptier roads was the main driver of the jump in fatal crashes in 2020. Common scenarios that can lead to a speeding accident include:

  • Sharp turns on curves
  • Ignoring speed limit signs
  • Drivers losing control of their vehicle based on the speed at which they were driving, which can result in collision with another vehicle
  • Speeding on major roadways and rear-ending another vehicle as a result

When driving, make sure to follow the posted speed limits and observe common sense regarding your speed. Never drive faster than is safe for current weather conditions—slow down for rain, snow, and fog. Reducing your speed is the easiest, and one of the most effective, things you can do to make the road safer for everyone.

4. Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is defined as “driving in a manner that presents a threat to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and/or bicyclists.” Aggressive driving includes a number of behaviors that you’ve likely seen while driving, and possibly have done yourself:

  • Aggressive tailgating
  • Driving without a seatbelt, or improperly securing a child
  • Failure to follow traffic signals
  • Failure to yield
  • Following at an unsafe distance
  • Inattentive driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Unlawful or unsafe speeds
  • Unsafe or illegal lane changes (weaving in and out of traffic)

If you’re in traffic with an aggressive driver, your best course of action is to keep your distance. Don’t attempt to pass or interact with them—this can escalate the situation and possibly lead to a car wreck. If you are concerned for the safety of yourself and others (including the aggressive driver), call 911 and report the aggressive driver as soon as it’s safe to do so.

5. Inclement Weather

car-accident-rain-ambulance

Fog, snow, ice, hail, heavy rain, and even high winds can make driving much more difficult. Poor visibility, poor tire tread or brakes, or a poorly functioning engine and exhaust are just a few things that can become extremely unsafe due to inclement weather, increasing the likelihood of an accident. However, there are some actions you can take to decrease the likelihood of a car wreck in bad weather.

Make sure to adhere to the speed limit at all times, and lower your speed if conditions worsen. By slowing down, you provide yourself more time to react to conditions, which is needed in heavy weather. There’s also no shame in pulling over or stopping at a rest stop if conditions get extremely bad. It’s better to be late to your destination than to be in a deadly accident.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Ohio

Though some accidents aren’t completely avoidable, by following the 5 above tips you can make them more rare. If you are involved in an Ohio car accident, however, you’ll need one of our reliable and experienced Columbus car accident lawyers to argue your case in court. The attorneys at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys have years of experience litigating complex injury cases in our state, and are here to help.

If you’re the victim of a car crash, don’t hesitate to contact our car accident attorneys. Call the law offices of Rinehardt Injury Attorneys today.


Drunk Driving Accidents on Thanksgiving & How to Avoid Them

10-12-21    

drunk driving on thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means weekend road trips to visit family or friends, cooking and eating lots of tasty food, and for those of us who are of age, indulging in a tipple or two. However, with the promise of merriment comes a darker threat: the day before Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Holiday DUI Season, as well.

In fact, over the past five years, more than 800 people have died during drunk driving accidents over the Thanksgiving weekend alone. This disturbing trend is due to a number of factors.

The Dangers of Holiday Travel

Since millions of Americans return to their hometowns for Thanksgiving, the day before – Thanksgiving Eve – is better known to law enforcement and first responders as “Blackout Wednesday,” because it’s one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. People meet up with friends and family, and since they’re home for the weekend, tend to let loose. Many areas experience a significant uptick in drunk driving cases the night before Thanksgiving.

The sheer number of people on the road is a huge factor in the weekend’s driving dangers: the American Automobile Association estimates that more than 45 million Americans will drive a long distance for Thanksgiving. More cars on the road means more traffic, more congestion, and more opportunities for wrecks, even without factoring in the increase in DUIs.

Compounding both of these factors is the poor weather of the holiday season. For much of America, Ohio included, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is dark, wet, cold, and icy – all hard driving conditions. And if a driver is buzzed or intoxicated, navigating increased congestion, or both, it’s obvious that their chance for a collision goes way up.

Staying Safe While Visiting Loved Ones

There are a number of ways you can stay safe this holiday season. For starters, practice safe and defensive driving by buckling your seatbelt, driving defensively, and obeying all the rules of the road. If you plan to drink at a party or other get-together, be sure to decide on a designated driver before you go, and hand your keys to your host before you have your first drink.

In addition, you can learn the basics of recognizing a drunk driver, to more easily avoid them. Drunk and impaired drivers tend to do one or more of the following:

  • Make very wide, abrupt, or illegal turns
  • Fail to stay within their lane, either by weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling
  • Nearly running into the side of the highway or other obstacles
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Responding slowly to signals or other changes in traffic flow
  • Braking erratically, or for no reason
  • Driving without headlights in the dark

If you see a driver exhibiting one of these behaviors, stay away from them as well as you can. If you or a passenger can safely and legally call the police, report the drunk or impaired driver so they will stop endangering themselves and others.

What to Do if You’re in a Drunk Driving Accident This Thanksgiving

If the worst does happen, and you find yourself in an accident with a drunk driver this holiday season, you’ll need a personal injury attorney who can represent your interests against the other person’s insurance. Especially if you or a loved one were injured in the crash, you deserve compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. After dealing with a car accident case, you shouldn’t have to worry about your family or medical bills, and we know that here at Rinehardt.

Consult with an Expert Drunk Driving Attorney in Ohio

The team of expert car accident lawyers at the law offices of Rinehardt Injury Attorneys has years of experience litigating accidents involving drunk and impaired drivers, and we’re dedicated to fighting for you in court! Give us a call today for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys to see what our individual attention can do for you. As the premier personal injury lawyers of Ohio, we can promise that our Columbus car accident attorneys will fight for you! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, truck accident, or a car crash, the Columbus car accident lawyers here at our law firm will get you the compensation you deserve! You can contact us online for a free legal consultation or you can swing by our Mansfield or Columbus office. Either way, we will help all injury victims get what they deserve to recover from their motor vehicle accident. And remember, don’t drink and drive!

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We’re here to help you and your family get back on track after an accident. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.