Virginia state troopers responded to nearly 1,200 automobile accidents and more than 1,100 stranded car reports during the most recent winter storm in Virginia, according to CBS News. Emergency dispatchers received over 4,000 calls in less than 24 hours and, while many of the accidents were minor, two people died of traffic-related injuries in the state last week. Auto accidents claim numerous Virginia lives each year and negligent drivers cause many of those accidents. Top causes of car, truck and motorcycle accidents include the following:
- Distracted drivers: Cellphones are a leading cause of distracted driving. Talking, texting or surfing cellphone applications while driving lead to numerous fatal accidents in Virginia each year. Other common distractions include eating, grooming, talking with passengers and mere inattention to driving.
- Speeding and reckless behavior: According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, excessive speed accounts for over 33 percent of all automobile accidents in America. While younger drivers enjoy the exhilaration of speed, many experienced drivers are simply in a hurry and try to shave minutes off of their driving time in order to get to their next events more quickly. Speeding decreases a driver’s ability to react to other drivers, pedestrians or changing driving conditions.
- Drunk driving: Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports that there are about 300,000 instances of drunk driving on a daily basis in the U.S. Even a slight impairment can mean the difference between life and death on winter roads as alcohol or drug use can slow driver reaction times.
Winter driving tips
While you have no control over the bad habits or inattention of other drivers, there are things you can do to help avoid accidents and serious injuries this winter. Follow these tips to help keep you and your passengers stay safe on the roads this winter:
- Clear snow and ice off your car windows so that you can see while you drive.
- Maintain a longer following distance behind other vehicles so you can stop in time if roads are icy or in the event of a sudden accident.
- Allow yourself more time to reach your destination so you do not have to hurry and can slow down if necessary.
- Stay alert for winter hazards such as slippery bridges and overpasses, stalled vehicles, snowdrifts on the road and blind corners due to decreased visibility due to piled or blowing snow.
- Allow extra time and distance for stopping and starting at intersections.
If you or a loved one is involved in an automobile accident, consult an experienced personal injury attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about claims against negligent drivers may be able to help you obtain compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, long-term care and pain and suffering.