Taking to the road in any motor vehicle may seem like no great event for the majority of drivers. With more than 100 years after the advent of the automobile, driving is almost as natural as walking for most Americans. But like nearly any activity in life, there are risks. For people who drive cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs, the dangers are usually acknowledged yet rarely considered an immediate threat to life and limb; however, this is where victims of terrible auto accidents would disagree.
The tens of thousands of people all across the nation who are seriously hurt in traffic accidents each year would likely have a totally different take on the hazards that drivers face on a daily basis on the open road, around town and on the beltway. Of course, motorcycle riders are the most exposed to bodily harm in traffic collisions, but all occupants of passenger cars confront a variety of dangers when traveling on public roadways.
It make little difference whether one is a driver or a passenger, riding in any vehicle traveling at high-speed or mixing with other cars, commercial trucks and city buses in heavy traffic can be a tenuous position depending on the circumstances. There are so many instances of injuries and deaths resulting from bad road accidents here in Maryland, especially during inclement weather. But as most any traffic safety advocate will tell you, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
As Baltimore-based personal injury lawyers, the legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, knows that car accidents occur at the most inopportune times and with little or no notice. Even under the best of circumstances, the results can be devastating to one or more individuals, and depending on the situation, can place a severe financial burden on the victims and their families.
In almost any roadway accident -- be it in a family sedan, sport utility vehicle or company-owned van -- serious and sometimes fatal injuries can often happen to the driver and passengers. Being able to recognize situations that can contribute to a bad traffic wreck is one way to avoid the potentially life-threatening injuries that befall many unlucky drivers and passengers.
As auto accident injury specialists, we know that there is no guarantee that a car or trucking-related crash will never happen. This is especially true in a society that is constantly on the move. While many people may convince themselves that nothing bad will ever happen, it is better to be on the alert to potentially dangerous scenarios on the road.
The first step to avoiding a serious car, truck or motorcycle crash is to understand the most common causes of these types of injury-related events. Considering that the bulk of passenger car and commercial trucking accidents can be attributed to the fault of one of the drivers, if a motorist avoids the pitfalls that lead to many of the typical accident scenarios, there is a better chance of not becoming involved in a crash; and by extension, not becoming injured or being listed as a statistic in the Maryland traffic fatality records.Reckless Driving
Although most people hardly need to be told to drive the speed limit and not dodge in and out of traffic, the race driver mentality is still embraced by a percentage of drivers. Sadly, acting like a race car driver on a public road is often more dangerous (especially to others) than actually driving on a race track. But there is nothing romantic about reckless driving on a city street or the beltway. As drivers ourselves, the legal team at Lebowitz & Mzhen has seen its share of aggressive, dangerous driving by other motorists; enough to know how common this type of behavior truly is.
These two words -- reckless driving -- cover so many common driving behaviors that it is almost too broad. Yet far too many motorists conduct themselves in the kinds of driving activities that get many people killed every day. Without knowing it, a great number of drivers raise the odds for all the rest of us when it comes to being caught up in a severe roadway accident.
Reckless driving includes many actions that most people simply brush off as rude or discourteous, but which can indeed lead to injury or death. From tailgating a slower vehicle or continuously changing lanes to exceeding the posted speed limit and making illegal passing maneuvers, nearly every driver understands that such exploits run contrary to the rules of the road and can even put someone at risk. Yet these behaviors occur again and again despite the knowledge that doing so may cause harm.Fatigued Driving
Also known as drowsy driving, this kind of behavior is one of the more dangerous because it doesn’t seem to be as blatantly illegal, such as driving under the influence. The tragic fact is, many people may feel almost too tired to drive, yet they attempt to “power through” the fatigue and fight the inevitable sleepiness that can result in a fatal collision. Whether caused simply by lack of sleep or as a result of working continuously at a highly demanding job, fatigue on the road is a bad situation. Commercial truckers are one group that is obviously high on the list of potential drowsy drivers. Not only do they work long hours under tight deadlines, but their “office” is their vehicle.
Even though a motorist may not feel tired doesn’t mean that his or her brain is working at peak efficiency. Physical fatigue is only part of the equation. Medical workers, legal professionals and other individuals who put in long hours and overnight work shifts can feel perfectly fine when getting behind the wheel, but if fatigue sets in while driving the beltway or interstate, there is always a risk of a fatigue-induced accident. Anyone who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while less than fully alert is asking for trouble. Avoiding this type of scenario could save a life.Intoxication
Hardly anyone needs to be reminded that drunken driving is a very dangerous activity. But human nature is a difficult thing to fight and some people simply have a hard time denying themselves a drink even though they know they will be driving a short time later. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have seen the aftermath of far too many traffic wrecks caused by a drunken driver. Even a seemingly minor amount of alcohol-related impairment can reduce a driver’s reaction time to the point of causing an accident, or just being unable to sufficiently avoid an accident situation.
It may be inconvenient or embarrassing to call a cab or admit that one needs a sober ride home, but pride and stubbornness often goes before a traffic accident, many of which can result in serious and sometimes life-threatening bodily injuries. For a person who is already intoxicated, alcohol may dull his or her capacity for reason. For someone who may be considering riding with an individual who may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there is no excuse to get in that car, and every reason to try to stop that driver from taking to the road.Ignoring Traffic Signals
While obviously a flouting of Maryland traffic law, running stop signs and sliding through a red light are quite common occurrences in cities like Gaithersburg, Annapolis, Bowie and Rockville. Even in Washington, D.C., less-than-considerate drivers routinely ignore the very traffic signals that keep us all safe. Unfortunately, haste and selfishness alone put many hundreds of innocent victims in the hospital every year.Distracted Driving
The everyday world is rife with distractions, and many of these occur while we are behind the wheel. As responsible drivers, it is incumbent on each one of us to maintain our concentration whenever we are driving down the road. Being aware of the current traffic situation at any time is critical to the safe operation of any motor vehicle, especially on high-speed interstates and in dense rush hour traffic. Some traffic safety experts suggest that at least one out of five injury-related roadway accidents involves some kind of driver distraction. The causes may vary from one person to the next, but the potentially deadly results should never be discounted.
While these aforementioned causes of traffic crashes are certainly not an exhaustive list, it is important to remember that after a crash has occurred, the injured victims should seek immediate medical attention. Once out of danger and recovering from their injuries, it may be time to contact a qualified legal professional to seek advice on filing an auto injury claim. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we understand the pain and discomfort that any bad automobile or commercial trucking accident can cause.
Should you find yourself badly injured as a result of a traffic collision caused by a negligent driver, we recommend that you or your family contact a skilled personal injury lawyer who is experienced in auto accident litigation and who understands Maryland insurance law. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we are always ready to assist victims suffering from debilitating bodily injuries resulting from car, truck and motorcycle wrecks. For a free, no-obligation consultation, please phone us toll-free at (800) 654-1949, or email either Jack Lebowitz or Vadim Mzhen to schedule a one-on-one meeting.