A recent series of serious car accidents in our area illustrates the fact that traffic accidents, fatalities, and injuries are an increasing problem everywhere. Most recently in Madison, a 72-year-old bicyclist was killed when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle. Traffic fatalities are up substantially in Dane County. In 2021, there was a 33% increase in crash-related fatalities.
Most traffic crashes leading to severe injuries or death involve some element of excessive speed, inattention or distraction, impaired perception (drug or alcohol use), or failing to drive prudently according to the weather conditions. Often, more than one of these behaviors is at fault for causing a crash.
To avoid causing a crash as a driver you should:
Focus on driving
Ignore distractions while driving and maintain focus on the road and stay off of your phone! Keep 100% of your attention on driving at all times – no multitasking. Don’t use your phone or any other electronic device while driving. Slow down. Speeding gives you less time to react and increases the severity of an accident.
Be aware of what other drivers around you are doing and expect the unexpected. Assume other motorists will do something negligent or unexpected, and always be prepared to avoid it. Keep a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you. Increasing the cushion to 4 seconds if the weather is bad.
Make a safe Driving Plan
Build time into your trip schedule stops for food, rest breaks, phone calls, or other business. Adjust your seat, mirrors, and climate controls before putting the car in gear. Pull over to eat or drink. It takes only a few minutes. Avoid driving if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are emotionally distraught, or feel sleepy.
Secure cargo that may move around while the vehicle is in motion. Don’t attempt to retrieve items that fall to the floor. Have items needed within easy reach – such as toll fees, toll cards, and garage passes.
If all drivers follow these basic tips, our roads would be much safer for all of us, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists alike. Only by driving safely will we reduce the terrible toll of injury and deaths on our roadways.
If you are the victim of a crash and have questions about what you should do to protect your rights, call LawtonCates right away. We’re here to help you.