Nobody wants to be in a car accident, but some accidents cannot be avoided. There is no way to make other people drive better, and sometimes you must drive in bad weather or on dangerous roads. Even so, you can do some things that will keep you and your passengers safer and avoid at least some of the more obvious hazards on the road.
Defensive Driving and Preventive Maintenance
Defensive driving means being alert and driving carefully. Paying attention to your surroundings and watching out for careless drivers can be the difference between braking in time as someone else goes speeding through your green light and getting T-boned by a reckless driver. These tips can help keep you safe as you navigate the highways.
- Don’t drink and drive. After half a century of warnings and ads from schools and agencies, drunk driving is still the number-one cause of accidents and fatalities on the road. Drinking slows your reactions, removes your inhibitions, and impairs your judgment. There are already too many drunk drivers out there. Don’t add one more. If you choose to use marijuana, the same rules apply. Even without the question of legality, being “a little buzzed” is equivalent to being “a little drunk.” Your reaction time is altered, and your judgment about distance and time is altered. Don’t take a chance. Designate a driver or get a rideshare. Or stay home and party.
- Distracted driving has become almost as dangerous as drinking and has many of the same effects on your driving ability. When you take your eyes off the road to text, you lose sight of any hazards around you. Texting while driving is illegal in Georgia, and even if you are the victim of an accident, if you were texting, it could have an impact on your compensation. Georgia requires hands-free phones when driving, and even holding a phone up to your ear is a distraction when speeding down the highway. If you must make frequent calls, invest in a hands-free device.
- Vehicle maintenance is at least as important as staying sober and distraction-free. Having your brakes fail in traffic will cause as serious an accident as texting. Although tires no longer blow out thanks to steel belts and better treads, worn tires will slip on ice, water, and oil patches. Even often overlooked things like windshield wipers can be critical to preventing accidents. If you can’t see during a rainstorm, you could find yourself running into something you didn’t intend to.
- Today’s highway boogeyman is the “road rager,” someone who leaps furiously from their car to confront anyone who cuts them off or gives them the finger. Don’t be either of those people, the rager or the one who cut them off, even by accident. As tempting as it may be to brake-check the aggressive driver who is following too closely, don’t do it. If you believe someone is following you or behaving aggressively, don’t stop or exit the highway. Call 911 and request assistance.
- All those posted signs and speed limits are there for reasons besides giving police a reason to pull you over. Posted speed limits are the recommended maximum and minimum limits for that stretch of roadway, especially on curves and exit ramps, because speeding causes accidents. Warnings for intersections and crosswalks are there to let you know it is time to slow down. Obeying the rules of the road is less fun than driving like you did when you were a teenager, but it is a lot safer.
How We Can Help
Practicing defensive driving can help your attorney help you. Georgia courts follow a “modified comparative negligence” rule when determining fault and awarding compensation in an accident. Under this rule, you may recover compensation if you are partially responsible for your accident, but only if you are less than 50 percent at fault. If you are even 51 percent responsible for the accident, you will be awarded nothing.
Because of this harsh rule, it is in your best interests to be sure you do everything you can to minimize your fault if you are involved in an accident. Give the insurance companies and their attorneys less reason to blame you for your injuries. If you were driving safely below the speed limit in a well-maintained car, not texting or talking on the phone, there is less fault that can be imputed to you.
The car accident attorneys at Chris Hudson Law Group can advise you on how to speak with insurance companies and understand the information written in your accident report.
If you have been in a car accident caused by another person’s careless driving, you need legal assistance. The Augusta car accident attorneys of Chris Hudson Law Group have helped many clients with car accident cases just like yours.
Call us at (706) 863-6600 or write to us for free and confidential review of your case. Let a member of our team get to work to get you the compensation you are entitled to.
Related reading: Augusta’s Most Dangerous and Deadly Roads