Distracted or inattentive driving always feels like one of those things that happens to someone else. Sure, maybe you glance at a text message at a red light every now and then, but you know better than to cause an accident. Or at least you think you know better. The fact is, it only takes a second or less for someone to get distracted and cause a life-altering collision.
Someone dies in a car accident every 14 minutes. And living through a car accident is still no guarantee that you won’t sustain critical injuries. If you caused the accident, you could also be sued and ruined financially. To help prevent that, here are some common causes of motor vehicle accident personal injury cases in California.
Driving too fast
Speeding is common. We all know we shouldn’t do it, but most of us do it anyway. It’s so common that drivers can almost convince themselves that it’s harmless, but it’s not. From 2005 to 2014, speeding was the primary factor in 31 percent of traffic fatalities.
To put it another way, speeding kills about as many people as drunk drivers. Yet we tend to talk about drunk driving a lot more than speeding. When you’re leaving a party, a friend might ask if you’re too drunk to drive, but they probably won’t say, “Don’t drive too fast, okay?”
Speeding is dangerous anytime, but it’s especially problematic in certain weather conditions. Southern Californians are infamous for panicking about rain. Some of that is overblown, but if it’s raining, you probably shouldn’t be going the speed limit, much less going over it. You’re more likely to lose control of your car that way. And when you lose control of your car, you might just run off the road and hit a bush. Or your might run off the road and hit a pedestrian. So be aware of road conditions.
Texting and driving
As of 2017, California drivers can’t hold a mobile device in their hands for any reason. Up until then, talking and texting was forbidden, but looking at a map on your phone was just fine. That’s no longer the case. The good news is that many drivers in California are changing their behavior. But the bad news is that if you don’t change your behavior, you could get a ticket, hefty fine, or worse.
Let’s say you’re driving and glancing at your phone occasionally in Riverside. If you rear-end someone while reading a text, you better hope they aren’t injured. If they are injured, then chances are they can find a Riverside personal injury lawyer who would love to take their case and sue either you or your insurance company. Determining negligence is a lot easier if there’s clear evidence that the driver at fault was distracted by their cell phone.
Falling asleep at the wheel
There’s no shame in having trouble sleeping. By one count, 70 million Americans suffer from some sort of disordered sleeping. Insomnia and sleep apnea are two of the more common ailments. Unfortunately, most people feel like they can’t miss work simply because they’re tired. So instead they drive when they’re exhausted, and doing that makes it much more likely you’ll nod off at the exact wrong time (not that there’s a good time to nod off when you’re behind the wheel).
You may have to go to work when tired, but that doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself there. Calling a cab or Lyft is safer than prying your eyes open and starting the ignition. California doesn’t have a hugely robust public transit system, but there are more options than you might realize. In the short-term, choosing mass transit may be more expensive than taking your own car. But taking the bus is the responsible move when you’re too tired to pay attention to the road.