Summer vacations and
car accidents go hand in hand. In my career spanning three decades of representing injured
victims, I have seen ways that most accidents can be avoided. Being aware
of driving behavior that repeatedly maims and kills is paramount.
Tailgating has resulted in an epidemic of rear end collisions. It doesn’t
get anyone anywhere faster, so drop back a bit. Drunk driving and vastly
exceeding a speed limit are killers. A small difference in speed matters.
Each 5 miles an hour over the speed limit greatly increases the energy
of a crash. Double the speed, and the energy of the crash is four times
greater. Triple it, and the result is a nine-fold increase. In other words,
the energy is squared. The body takes the brunt of the crash.
Another big cause of wrecks is running red lights. Seventy five percent
of city collisions are caused by inattentive people who don’t see
the lights or who run them intentionally to save an average of one minute
driving time. Hitting the gas instead of the brake when a light turns
to orange is disastrous in too many cases.
Failure to wear seat belts also remains a deadly mistake. The damage is
done when the unbelted person strikes the interior of the vehicle. It
is impossible in a collision of over about 8 mph for a person to brace
with his arms to prevent striking interior components like the dashboard
and windshield. A huge number of occupants are ejected through windows.
Often, their own vehicle rolls over on them.
Inattentive driving kills about five thousand people a year according to
NHTSA. While cell phone usage is only one bad idea when on the road (others
being adjusting the radio, lighting cigarettes, and text messaging), it’s
become dangerously prevalent. At this moment an estimated one million
people are driving and communicating on cell phones. Avoid these scenarios,
and your summer vacation is likely to be a happy one.