Top 5 Causes of California Auto Accidents
Hundreds of thousands of car accidents happen each year in California. Although many of these accidents are minor, some have serious consequences for those involved. In fact, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety, over 4,000 people lost their lives in California traffic accidents in 2021. Even if you are a safe driver, you can’t always prevent an accident. The actions of other drivers, hazardous road conditions, and other factors can result in an unexpected collision. All drivers should be aware of the top causes of auto accidents and take proactive steps to avoid them.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a top contributor to California auto accidents. Anything that takes your eyes and attention from the road can be considered a distraction. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous, resulting in thousands of injuries every year, especially among teenagers and young adults. Even though California has banned using handheld cell phones while driving since 2008, people continue to violate the law and put others at risk. No text or phone call is worth injuring yourself or another person. To be safe, wait until you can find an appropriate place to pull over and park before picking up your cell phone.
Other distracted driving behaviors include eating and drinking, putting on makeup, and adjusting in-car entertainment controls behind the wheel. These things make it more difficult for you to respond quickly to changes in traffic conditions, which can result in a car accident. Keep your attention where it belongs—on the road—and the rest can wait until you and your family are safe and sound.
2. Impaired Driving
Driving while under the influence is another main cause of car accidents in California. The CDC reports that 9,288 traffic fatalities occurred due to alcohol-impaired driving from 2009 to 2018 in our state alone. As the holiday season grows near, more people will be engaging in festivities to celebrate. If you will be drinking, it’s especially important to arrange for a designated driver to take you home. This will protect you and others on the road from an unnecessary accident.
Speeding is an aggressive driving behavior that often results in serious car crashes. Speeds limits are designed to keep everyone on the road safe, and exceeding these limits puts you and others at risk. Additionally, serious injuries are more likely to occur when a car accident happens at high speed. Traffic conditions change constantly, and speeding makes it harder for you to control your vehicle. If traffic stalls suddenly, you won’t have as much time to brake, which may cause you to rear-end the driver in front of you. At high speeds, this can be extremely dangerous and result in multiple car crashes at once. Keep yourself, passengers, and other drivers safe by maintaining the speed limit and giving speeding drivers plenty of space to maneuver.
4. Red Light Running
Hundreds of people die every year due to red light running. Motorists and pedestrians rely on traffic lights to know when it’s safe to travel through intersections. If you run a red light, oncoming drivers may not see you and then crash into your vehicle. This can result in serious injuries like broken bones, spinal injuries, head trauma, and even death. Running a red light isn’t worth the risk just to arrive at your destination a few minutes earlier. You should wait for the green light and remember to check all directions before proceeding through the intersection safely.
5. Adverse Weather Conditions
As temperatures drop, poor weather conditions lead to more accidents on our state’s roadways. Rain, ice, snow, and high winds can all impact driving, requiring more effort to navigate through streets and freeways. If you are not careful, this can lead to a car crash. Adverse weather reduces your visibility, making it harder for you to see what’s ahead. If you find yourself struggling out on the road, it’s best practice to pull over until conditions have cleared. If you will be traveling during the holiday season, try to drive during the daytime hours to improve your visibility. This can help ensure that you and your family arrive safely at your destination.
What to Do If You’re Injured in a California Auto Accident
Even if you have taken the proper steps to avoid an accident, you may eventually find yourself a victim of another driver’s carelessness. There are several steps you should take following the crash to protect yourself.
- Get medical assistance—If you or someone else is visibly hurt, it is imperative to call for medical help at the scene of the accident. If you don’t think you need immediate medical care, you should still get checked out by a healthcare professional as soon as possible. They will be able to rule out any hidden injuries, which might not show symptoms right away.
- File a police report—Law enforcement officers typically respond to serious accidents. In your incident report, you should give objective details about the accident, but don’t admit any fault on your part. This could hurt your case later should you need to pursue compensation against the other driver.
- Gather relevant contact information—Before you leave the accident scene, be sure to get the contact information of the other drivers and any witnesses to the accident. This can make it easier to collect statements from the other parties if needed.
- Take photos—It is also a good idea to take photos or videos of the scene, including the damage to your vehicle and any obvious injuries you may have. These could be used to strengthen your case.
- Call a lawyer—As soon as you are safely home, contact an auto accident attorney for a consultation. They will review your accident details, help you determine fault, and let you know if you have a good case for recovering compensation.
When to Call the Insurance Company
You should only call the other driver’s insurance company after you have spoken to a Bakersfield auto accident lawyer. The insurance company will try to get you to settle for much less than your case could be worth, and many people make the mistake of accepting this initial offer without legal representation. This could potentially cost you thousands, if not millions, of dollars in lost damages. Insurance representatives may use deceptive tactics to get you to admit to some level of fault, which can reduce your claim. Your lawyer will be able to guide you on what to say and what not to say to the insurance company to maximize your compensation.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you have been the victim of an auto accident in California, it is essential to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. A car crash can turn your life upside down, but at the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we work hard to minimize the impact an accident has on your life. We have extensive experience in auto accident law, and we’ll work with you to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To set up a free initial consultation, contact our Bakersfield auto accident law firm today.