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The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 million people worldwide die in fatal traffic accidents every year. That’s not all — traffic accidents injure an additional 20-50 million people annually. I only meet and represent a tiny fraction of those accident victims, but their stories stick with me.
August is National Traffic Awareness Month, reminds us Auto Accident Attorney Ramiro Rodriguez, and many accidents feature similar situations. Worse, if another driver had only taken proper care, the accident and all the injuries that came with it could have been avoided entirely. I can’t change the past, but I hope to stop other people from getting hurt. Here are the most dangerous traffic conditions.
So, you’re “stuck in traffic.” That usually means you’re driving at a snail’s pace or keep stopping and starting. Stop-and-go traffic is a pain we’d all prefer to avoid, and it’s also ripe for potential accidents. While these collisions are usually relatively mild, they often result in whiplash or other injuries that can turn serious.
Driving safely in stop-and-go conditions requires keeping your emotions in check. First, you have to control your anger. The traffic might be frustrating, but rage or aggressive driving won’t solve the problem. Second, it’s just as important to avoid boredom. Distraction accounts for most stop-and-go accidents, so put the phone away and stop daydreaming. Leave adequate distance between yourself and other cars, pay attention to the brake lights in front of you, and slowly accelerate when it’s time to move forward.
Red Lights and Stop Signs
Have you ever joked that a yellow light means “speed up” instead of slow down — or that the traffic light was pink (not red) when you drove through it? You’re not alone. A survey by AAA in 2019 found that 31% of people admitted to running a red light in the past 30 days. But while people are great at rationalizing their poor driving habits, the numbers don’t lie. In 2020, 928 Americans died in crashes where someone ran a red light, and 115,741 people were injured.
People run red lights because they’re in a hurry and think they won’t get caught. But the convenience and minor thrill aren’t worth the risk to your or anyone else’s life. When a light turns yellow, always stop as long as you have enough time — it’s the law. And practice defensive driving by being cautious and keeping your eyes open when crossing intersections. Taking a couple of extra seconds to accelerate on green could prevent someone else’s negligence from turning fatal.
Did you know that left-hand turns are involved in about 22% of all U.S. car accidents and 61% of those at an intersection? Turning left can be dangerous business. Of course, it’s also a necessary evil. So, what can you do to reduce the chances of an accident?
Drivers turning left must give oncoming traffic the right of way. If you can’t turn left without forcing another driver to slow down, you don’t have enough time to turn and will likely be held at fault for an accident. Meanwhile, drivers going straight should watch out for motorists who may be turning at an intersection to keep themselves and anyone else in the car safe. Finally, you always have a duty to drive the speed limit and stop on yellow so other drivers can turn left.
If we all had our way, we’d exclusively drive on open roads without the hassle of traffic lights, lane changes, or other cars. But for better or worse, when we’re behind the wheel, we’re responsible for each other. We may not like traffic, but we have to live with it. So, do it responsibly — it could save your or someone else’s life.