Chances are good that you have been in an auto accident at least once in your life. And unfortunately, if you haven’t, chances are that you will be at some point. Most collisions are nothing more than minor fender benders and sideswipes, but occasionally, motorists are involved in more serious crashes that lead to severe injuries. In many cases, these accidents aren’t the fault of the injured party, but they happen just the same, which makes it all the more important to drive with caution and observe all traffic safety laws. Additionally, Crosley Law Firm has compiled a list of five of the most common auto accident injury scenarios to keep you safe both on and off the road.
Injury Scenario #5: Pedestrian Crossings
Our brains play an interesting trick on us when we’re driving that causes us to focus almost exclusively on other vehicles while rendering pedestrians almost invisible. This is especially true when we are stopped at a red light or stop sign and making a right hand turn. Most of us give a good look to our left, and then we proceed to turn without even a casual glance to the right. This is a particularly dangerous mistake in school zones where children are walking, skating, or biking along the sidewalks under the assumption that you will notice them as they cross the street. So no matter what direction you’re turning, make sure to look both ways to help keep both drivers and pedestrians safe at all times.
Injury Scenario #4: Unsafe Lane Changes
Freeways are easy places to get lost in your own head and lose your train of thought. We may seamlessly weave in an out of lanes, giving little thought to who or what we are leaving behind. Regardless of our aloof negligence, we need to be aware of our speed and our capability for carnage. Motorists are so fond of easing in and out of lanes that they fail to check their mirrors and use their turn signals to ensure safe passage, often leading to disastrous results. When traveling at high speeds, this brand of high-speed negligence can lead to violent accidents and severe injuries, including death. Bottom line: use your turn signals, check all your mirrors, and observe your blind spots before changing lanes.
Injury Scenario #3: Parking Lots
Parking lots are tricky places to navigate, particularly since there is often a lack of prescribed traffic flow and signage. We think that we’re just one simple turn away from a slot, but sometimes we’re wrong; sometimes we’re one simple turn from disaster. We try to drive slowly. We try to drive safely. But our next accident is just around the corner – literally. Parking lots are overcrowded and heavily trafficked, which means that drivers should be especially cautious when navigating those narrow lanes, especially when visibility is low at night or in inclement weather. We’ve encountered far too many individuals who have had to deal with irresponsible drivers slashing right too quickly and causing serious injury – to both other drivers and pedestrians.
Injury Scenario #2: Left Turns at a Traffic Signal (aka Failing to Yield the Right of Way)
Whether it’s because people don’t receive the proper training before getting their license or because they are in an enormous hurry, drivers turning left at a traffic signal often forget that the law clearly states that even if you have a green light, you have to yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. In other words, if you’re making a left turn, you have to wait until traffic clears before executing a turn – even if the light is green or has just turned green. While some extremely careless drivers ignore the right of way entirely and try to beat oncoming traffic by making a dangerous left turn as soon as the light turns green, the tendency among many “experienced” (which is not the same as “knowlegeable”) drivers is to creep forward once the light turns green waiting for an opportune moment to dart across traffic as they speed frantically toward their destination. The problem is that the driver directly opposite them is usually creeping forward as well, which makes visibility of oncoming traffic limited at best. In most cases, the reckless driver is able to avoid catastrophe and speed on, but we’ve seen too many cases where someone abiding by the law strikes the turning vehicle in the front or the side while traveling at full speed. Sadly, these accidents happen every day and can lead to significant injuries and even death. We know you’re in a hurry. We often are too. But please just take a few extra seconds when making that left. Traffic will clear at any moment and allow you to make the safest possible turn with full visibility.
Injury Scenario #1: Rear Ending
The most common auto accident scenario is the classic rear end. Usually, this is a fairly harmless occurrence during which the at-fault driver is paying more attention to their morning cup of coffee than the Toyota Camry in front of them as they creep along in traffic or toward a stop sign. Occasionally, though, a driver traveling at high speeds is unable to stop in time to avoid an idle vehicle because of inclement weather, because they are tailgating, or because they are distracted. This sort of accident can cause significant injury to both parties – usually in the form of head trauma, whiplash, or spinal injury. To help avoid rear-ending another vehicle, make sure to keep at least three seconds of space between you and the car in front of you in case you have to brake unexpectedly.