The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 10 million Americans are involved in car accidents each year. These accidents often result in serious injuries, or even death. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens, and many accidents can be prevented. There are numerous factors that can contribute to a car accident that may make contacting a New Jersey car accident lawyer worthwhile.
Some car accidents may be caused by environmental factors that are outside a driver’s control. These may include:
If part of the car, such as brakes, tires, or suspension system, fails while the car is in motion, it can be difficult to avoid a car accident. Older cars are particularly susceptible to failure, but some cars may have inherent design flaws that can endanger drivers. Vehicle manufacturers may be liable for injuries caused by defective auto parts, but drivers also have a responsibility to properly maintain their vehicles.
Unsafe roadway design
Roadways should be designed to maximize safety, but poor weather conditions or changes in traffic pattern can present unforeseen hazards for drivers. Other dangerous road design flaws such as poorly placed lane mergers, insufficient lighting, or pedestrian crossings can endanger drivers. Improper use of traffic signals such as traffic lights, stop signs, and speed limit signs can also cause driver confusion and result in car accidents.
Poor roadway maintenance
Federal, state, and municipal governments are responsible for maintaining roadways. Road surfaces and signs must be kept in good condition in order to prevent car accidents. When inclement weather hits, roadways should be sufficiently salted or sanded, and debris should be removed, before it becomes a hazard to drivers.
Reckless Driver Behavior
Despite the hazards that drivers may encounter on the road, the most common causes of car accidents are still the result of negligent driver behaviors, such as:
Drivers who use cell phones, eat or drink, or otherwise get distracted while driving are the leading cause of car accidents. Drivers must maintain focus at all times in order to safely operate their vehicle. Using a cell phone or other handheld device while driving quadruples a driver’s chances of getting into an accident. Moreover, drivers who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision.
Driving above the speed limit can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and decreases reaction time for sudden hazards they may encounter. Speed is a factor in about one-third of car accidents nationwide, and car accidents involving speeding are more likely to result in serious injury. Other reckless behaviors, including tailgating, ignoring traffic signals, changing lanes suddenly, and failing to use turn signals can also catch other drivers off guard and cause a multi-vehicle collision.
Driving under the influence
Drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs are a serious danger to themselves and others on the road. Impaired drivers have slower reaction times and poor judgment, which can result in deadly car accidents. An estimated 300,000 incidents of drunk driving occur daily in the U.S., despite numerous warnings and harsh penalties.
Drivers who are fatigued should stay off the road until they have had enough rest. Drowsy driving has many of the same results as drunk driving, inhibiting a driver’s ability to make decisions and maintain focus.
Seeking Legal Representation
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident in South Jersey or Philadelphia due to faulty equipment, unsafe roadways, or reckless driver behavior, our injury lawyers can help determine who is at fault for your injuries. You may be eligible for compensation if your car accident injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence.