With 15 million drivers on Florida roads, the potential for human error that leads to a car accident is high. Most of these crashes are minor, but when an accident is severe the consequences can be enormous in terms of injuries, damages, stress, trauma, and financial strain. In order to prevent this kind of mayhem, one should always make sure they give the road their full attention while driving, while making sure to obey all traffic laws. Sometimes though, following the law and paying attention aren’t enough. Unfortunately, you cannot assure that other drivers around you are being responsible too. If another driver’s actions or negligence lead to your car accident, you have a right to hold them responsible for your damages. An experienced Florida car accident attorney can help you to file a car accident claim so that you can worry about healing while someone else worries about how you will pay for it.
Here are 10 common causes of Florida car accident and how to prevent them the best you can.
1. Distracted Driving
There are often multiple distractors competing for drivers’ attention. As a busy driver, you may have felt the pressure to respond to a ringing cell phone, check a text, send out that quick email, or just double check if the restaurant is still open online.
Multitasking while driving is so common that it can seem harmless, after all everyone does it. But it’s actually very risky. Every day over 1,000 people are injured in a car accident involving distracted driving.
The best practice is to resist common distractions until you’ve safely reached your destination. Avoid eating, texting, and anything else that can cause you to become distracted while driving. Simply focus on the road. If you have to take a phone call mid drive, keep it short and use a hands-free option.
We realize that leaving your phone out of sight while driving is difficult. Phones have become in integral part of our lives. But if you really think about it, the risks of distracted driving are not even close to worth it.
2. Running Red Lights
Running a red light is one of the most dangerous causes of car accidents since people who have a green light are often not assuming someone will be coming from a stopped direction. To curb this. Florida has put in place red light cameras to act as a deterrent to those who are impatient. And the deterrent is high; a red light ticket in Florida is very expensive, typically costing between $150 and $250. Still, people run red lights. Failing to stop or fully stop for red lights puts passengers, pedestrians, and bikers in harm’s way. In 2018 alone, red light violations caused roughly 139,000 injuries from car crashes.
To avoid running a light, remember to observe yellow lights as a signal to slow down rather than speed up. If you’re about to cross the street on foot, wait for all vehicles to come to a complete stop. Be especially wary of drivers waiting to make a right on a red light. The best practice is almost always to make eye contact with the turning driver so that you know they know you are there.
3. Design Defects
Thousands of parts work together to make an automobile work, but they don’t always function exactly as they should. When a part on car traveling 70 mph malfunctions, one can easily imagine how disastrous the results can be. Manufacturers have had to recall a wide variety of parts, ranging from relatively harmless faulty sun visors to extremely important parts, like tires.
Additionally, a malfunctioning part on another person’s car, or even a defective part on a semi-truck, can cause serious issues as well.
When a malfunctioning or defective part causes an accident, those responsible can be held responsible for their role in your injuries.
To be sure that your or your family member’s car is safe, you can run your car’s VIN through the NHTSA recall search tool.
It’s common to feel antsy on the way to a destination, especially if you happen to be running behind schedule. But exceeding the speed limit has much more dire consequences than arriving late.
Speeding has been a contributing factor to over 25% of fatal accidents every year since 2009. Drivers traveling over the speed limit can easily lose control over their vehicles. They give themselves less time to adjust to sudden stops and curves in the road. Accidents that happen at higher speeds are overwhelmingly more damaging in terms of both property damage and bodily harm.
When estimating your travel time, give yourself a buffer in case there are unexpected delays such as detours and heavy traffic. You’ll be less tempted to speed if your trip ends up taking longer than you expected.
5. Teenage Drivers
Floridians are eligible to get their licenses at the age of 16. The human brain, however, doesn’t finish developing until the age 25. Consequently, teenagers don’t always make the best decisions on the road.
If you’re the parent of a young driver, insist on additional safety rules. Allowing your teen only one passenger is one way to minimize distractions. Setting a limited driving radius will give your child a good feel for the road before moving on to more difficult routes.
6. Reckless Driving
Unpredictable motorists who drive recklessly create unnecessary guesswork for other drivers and disrupt the flow of traffic. Things like not using turning signals, cutting people off, weaving through traffic, tailgating, ignoring traffic signals, and erradictly changing speeds are all sure ways to cause an accident. When another driver is acting recklessly and causes and accident, you can hold them accountable the damages they cause.
In these situation, it’s perfectly normal to be tempted to respond aggressively. But think about the consequences and you’ll realize that it is best to just keep your distance.
7. Weather Conditions
The Sunshine State is envied for its sunny weather, but Florida residents also know that we get a ton of rain to accompany that sunshine. Heavy downpours and hazy atmospheres severely obstruct a driver’s vision. Wet roads and obstructed views are two very common causes of accidents, especially in Florida.
When driving on wet roads or during a heavy downpour, be sure to have your headlights on, wipers on, go slower than usual, and pay extra close attention to the road. Also, do not turn on your hazards while driving. Hazard lights are for stopped vehicles.
Car brakes may also be less effective in the rain. They need friction to slow down a car, and there’s less of it when it’s wet outside. To prevent any issues, stay further back from others than you would on a dry day. To give yourself the utmost control over your car, be sure to replace your brake pads as often as your car owner’s manual suggests.
8. Drunk Driving
Alcohol spikes the amount of norepinephrine in the brain. That’s a chemical that lowers inhibitions. Consequently, drunk drivers tend to take risks they wouldn’t take when sober. Alcohol also decreases reaction time, making drivers slower to adjust to unexpected road conditions.
Over a quarter of fatal accidents in Florida are caused by drunk drivers who shouldn’t have gotten behind the wheel. When under the influence, take a taxi or use a ride sharing service. If you notice that your friends have had too much to drink, encourage them to do the same.
9. Driving at Night
Darkness isn’t the only reason that almost half of deadly car accidents happen at nighttime. Drivers also tend to be less alert. Some let their guard down because traffic is lighter. Others are exhausted after working long hours.
If you find yourself on the road at night, take advantage of the limited traffic and drive a lengthier distance away from other drivers who might not be at their best. This is especially important between midnight and 3:00am, the window of time when drunk drivers are most likely to cause accidents.
Maintain your headlights (check your lights, replace bulbs, etc) so that you have the best possible visibility. Replacing bulbs as soon as they stop working and keeping your headlights clean are two ways to protect yourself in the dark.
Many drivers tailgate when the car ahead is driving too slow for their taste. The other driver is probably moving slowly for a reason; he might be looking for an address and could come to a halt at any moment. Or they may be an elderly driver or new driver, so again, they are more likely to make a sudden stop, causing an accident.
Keep your distance and you’ll have more space to react to any sudden movements. And if someone is tailgating you, move over and let them pass; it will be well worth it.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
No matter what precautions you take as a safe driver, it’s unfortunately still possible to be involved in an accident. If you do become injured at the hands of another driver, the experienced car accident attorneys at The Eberst Law Firm can help you. Our lawyers are committed to securing maximum compensation so that our clients can restore their health and livelihood. Call us for a free consultation at 772-225-4900 or contact us online today.
Photo by Artyom Kulikov