When the construction of connected roadways first began, the face of American travel and commerce changed. As more roads were built, the easier it became to transport goods across the country. However, such progress increased vehicle accidents, particularly those involving trucks. Highway accidents routinely account for a large percentage of all traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths. With more lanes, cars, higher speeds, and little protection from the elements, highway travel can be dangerous for those who do not drive safely.
A car accident lawyer can help a driver receive compensation for losses sustained in a highway collision. It is important to understand the dangers of highway driving so motorists can be aware when traveling at high speeds. The most common highway driving dangers are listed below.
Highway driving speeds across the United States range from 50 miles per hour up to 80 miles per hour in some states. Despite clearly posted speed limits, drivers frequently speed, causing car accidents and harm to themselves and others. When speeding, drivers cannot react as quickly to changing road, traffic, and weather conditions. They may also lose control of the vehicle, causing harm to other drivers.
On any type of roadway, distracted driving is a primary reason for vehicle accidents. Distracted driving can include:
- Dialing or talking on a phone
- Getting lost in thought or conversation
- Arguing or loud conversations in the car
- Fiddling with radio and temperature controls
- Using a navigation device
Any action that takes a driver’s eyes and attention off the road is a distraction.
Highway drivers are often on the roadway for long-distance travel. Truck drivers are often moving goods across states or across the country. Any driver trying to quickly arrive to their destination could be pushing their abilities to remain focused and awake.
Weather can change quickly. Often, motorists ignore changes to the weather because they are accustomed to driving at a certain speed on the highway, but this is a mistake. The first 10 minutes of rain can cause hydroplaning and snow flurries can quickly cause a road to become slippery. Falling temperatures can cause black ice that may not be visible to the driver and heavy rain and fog can obscure visibility. Drivers must always compensate for a change in the weather, no matter the speed. When poor weather or visibility hits, turn off cruise control. It is important to be in control at all times in adverse weather conditions.
Trucks driving on a highway open up other potential causes of accidents. For example, shifting loads or an improperly loaded truck can cause swaying or even a truck accident. Worn or underinflated tires that shred can cause a truck to veer out of control. Speeding, improper lane changes, and other moving violations can also cause truck accidents.
What are Some Highway Safety Tips?
There are many ways drivers can avoid or mitigate highway accidents. No matter the type of vehicle one is driving, the following list contains tips to keep drivers, passengers, and other vehicles from harm.
Maintain Speed: No matter how many lanes and cars there are, speeding is never a good idea. A speeding car is harder to control and does not give the driver time to react to a changing road condition or another vehicle. Additionally, it may be necessary to drive under the speed limit or with more space between the car ahead.
Avoid Distractions: A driver cannot focus on the road if they are texting, trying to dial a number, or talking with the phone to their ear. Drivers who must use the phone should exit the highway or have a passenger make the connection. Hands-free systems found in modern cars today are excellent alternatives. Music, videos, children, and even pets can all cause distractive driving.
Seat Belt Use: Every driver should be restrained using the car’s proper safety belts; this includes babies, toddlers, and young children who should be in the appropriate type of seats.
Use the Left Lane for Passing: Sometimes, there is a need to pass another vehicle. When that need arises, pass on the left and move back to the right. Do not move into the left lane and slow down. Doing so causes traffic back-ups, which could lead to unsafe driving and accidents.
Highway Entrances and Exits: Most highways give drivers plenty of ramp space to enter and exit without disturbing existing traffic flow. Ramps should be used to enter and exit carefully without disrupting the flow of traffic.
Turn Signals and Safety Features: Always use headlights, fog lights, parking lights, and turn signals. Be sure that brake lights and other exterior signals are visible and in working condition.
Do Not Drink and Drive: Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Impaired driving causes many accidents.
Drive Defensively: Every driver should drive assuming that other motorists will not follow the rules of the road. Always err on the side of caution and use defensive techniques.
Take Breaks: On long trips, fatigue and inattention can easily set in. Take a break every few hours to stretch, have a snack, and walk around.
What Should I Do in a Highway Accident?
On a highway, cars are traveling at high speeds around the accident, making conditions conducive to additional casualties. There is less room for an accident to be moved out of the way and fewer safe places for accident victims to wait or be treated. It can also be difficult to take extra time for emergency responders to arrive. For these reasons, highway drivers should always use extra caution. If an accident occurs, take the following steps:
- Assess injuries to oneself, passengers, bystanders, and occupants of other vehicles. Help where it is possible.
- Move to a safe place. Cars may still be traveling on the road, so be sure to find a safe place to wait.
- Call for emergency help as soon as possible.
- Take pictures and videos with a cellphone, obtain witness contact information and statements, note the weather and road conditions, as well as the events leading to the accident.
- Exchange information with the other driver.
- Accept medical help from first responders, even if there are no visible injuries.
- Contact a lawyer when it is possible.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Represent Victims Involved in Highway Collisions
An accident with another vehicle on a highway can be debilitating, both physically and financially. There could be major injuries, as well as damage to the vehicle. A Virginia Beach car accident lawyer at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. Do not let a negligent driver affect your quality of life. Call 757-LAW-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we represent clients in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.