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Did you know that car accidents are the leading cause of death for people aged 1-54 in the United States? Every day, approximately 29 people die in car accidents. According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, 105,600 accidents resulted in 847 car accident fatalities in 2020. As Richmond citizens return to driving and use their cars more, they are at a higher risk of experiencing a car accident.
Many fatal accidents occur due to driver inexperience, distraction, and intoxication or impairment. Below, we discuss some common causes of fatal Virginia traffic accidents and what drivers can do to protect themselves.
One of the biggest concerns when a new driver, such as a teenager, gets on the road is their safety. Drivers who are new to driving or have not driven in a while tend to get distracted and make mistakes, such as forgetting to check their mirrors, signal before changing lanes, or even failing to turn on their headlights at night or when it’s raining.
To avoid these mistakes, it’s important to familiarize yourself with Virginia driving laws and how to practice safe driving. If you drive during peak driving hours, be extra careful.
Driver distraction is a leading cause of fatal crashes. Sometimes we think we have enough time to respond to a text message or try to fit lunch in while we drive back to work, but it’s important to know that distracted driving is dangerous, and you can also be fined for it.
For instance, texting while driving is illegal and a primary offense in Virginia. If you are caught texting in a moving vehicle, there is a $125 fine for your first offense and a $250 fine for your second or subsequent offenses.
Driving while intoxicated is another leading cause of car crashes. Alcohol impairs a driver’s judgment, vision, and coordination, leading to a deadly accident. If you are going to drink, make sure to have a designated driver or take a taxi home.
Pedestrians & Cyclists
Richmond and the surrounding areas of Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hanover is a large metro area, and it’s not uncommon to see people taking a stroll down the Fan District or enjoying a bike ride in the city. Pedestrians and cyclists also pose a risk to drivers. In 2020, nearly 1,500 pedestrians and 659 bicyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes on Virginia roadways, while 117 pedestrians and 8 cyclists were killed.
To avoid these accidents, drivers should be aware of their surroundings and be especially careful when turning or changing lanes. Cyclists should always wear a helmet and use hand signals when turning. Pedestrians should make sure they are visible to drivers by using crosswalks and crossing streets in a safe location.
Unfortunately, reckless driving, such as speeding, tailgating, and running red lights, is very common. Drivers who engage in reckless behavior are more likely to lose control of their motor vehicles and crash.
To avoid these accidents, be aware of the speed limit and obey all traffic laws. If you feel like you’re being tailgated or someone is driving too close to you, pull over and let them pass.
Ways to Stay Safe on the Road
In addition to avoiding the behaviors mentioned above, some general tips can help keep you prevent traffic fatalities and stay safe while driving.
- Always wear your seat belt and make sure all passengers are wearing their seat belts too.
- Make sure your car is in good working order before you hit the road, including checking your tires, brakes, and lights.
- Do not drive if you are tired or feeling sick.
- Keep your car radio at a low volume to focus on driving.
- Be aware of your surroundings and other drivers on the road.
We hope that these tips will help keep you safe while driving this summer!
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Today
In many cases, roadway fatalities are caused by other drivers’ recklessness and unwise driving habits. If your loved one’s deadly traffic accident took place because of another person’s negligence, you may be able to hold that person accountable for the costs you incur as a result of your loved one’s death and the pain and suffering you have experienced. Our Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci team is available and willing to help if someone you love has been killed in a car accident.
We handle cases involving car accidents, wrongful death, and other forms of personal injury. With our experience and knowledge on your side, you will have a better chance of recovering the compensation you need and obtaining the just solution you deserve.
If you have been in a car accident or have lost a loved one in Richmond, please call us for a free consultation.