According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), road accident fatalities in the U.S. increased by seven percent from 2019 to 2020, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That was even though there were fewer vehicles on the road due to the pandemic. It was the largest surge in 13 years.
Data from the NHTSA also showed that fatal road accidents involving driving under the influence (DUI) of liquor increased by nine percent from 2019 to 2020. The charge for a DUI becomes a felony if anyone is seriously injured or killed. It could result in jail time of more than a year and fines of more than $10,000.
The NHTSA attributes the rise in fatal car crashes to drivers speeding, driving while impaired by liquor or illegal substances, and drivers and passengers not wearing seatbelts. These are all preventable.
What to Do in a Road Accident
1. Stay calm and assess the situation. Check if you are hurt. If you are, do not move unless you are in danger of a vehicle explosion. Wait for medical help because moving may worsen your condition.
2. Call 911 or other emergency services and the police.
3. If you are mobile, check on others in the accident to ensure they are okay.
4. Exchange information with other drivers, including driver’s license numbers, insurance companies, names, and contact information for witnesses.
5. Call your insurance company and report the accident.
6. If you were driving under the influence of liquor or illegal substances when you got into an accident, call a DUI attorney immediately and do not answer any questions about your state or the accident until your lawyer arrives.
7. Do not discuss the accident or who was at fault with the other driver or anyone else. You might inadvertently say something that could be used against you in court. Wait for the police and the results of their investigation.
8. Do not get into an argument with the other party. If the other party tries to start a fight, do not engage.
9. Do not leave the scene of a car accident until law enforcement tells you it’s okay to go. Otherwise, you risk getting a hit-and-run charge.
10. Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved, as well as any injuries any person sustained.
11. If your vehicle has a dashboard camera, inform the police. Surrender the video in the presence of your lawyer.
12. If you are hospitalized or get any medical treatment due to the accident, keep records of all medical findings and your expenses. You may need this for your insurance and if you file a suit.
13. Get a police report and file an insurance claim as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Road Accidents
1. Regularly service your vehicle and make sure the tires are properly inflated. Always check the car before you drive it even for short trips and errands.
2. Do not rely on the mirror when backing out. Look over your shoulder to check if everything is clear.
3. Drive the speed limit and never speed. Speeding is one of the leading causes of car accidents.
4. Do not drive under the influence of liquor or illegal substances.
5. Do not drive if you have taken prescription medication that makes you drowsy.
6. Do not drive if you are extremely tired or lack sleep. You may fall asleep at the wheel. If you are already on the road, pull up and take a nap. If there is a nearby establishment, get a cup of strong coffee.
7. Always wear a seatbelt, both as a driver and passenger. Use child seats for children.
8. Avoid distractions while driving, such as using your cellphone, eating, or drinking. If you have to make or take an important call or send or read an important text message, stop at the side of the road first.
9. Always keep both hands, or at least one, on the steering wheel.
10. Drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings.
11. Do not tailgate. Leave a comfortable distance between yourself and the cars at the front and back to avoid a collision in case you suddenly need to stop or swerve.
12. Do not cut off other drivers. Practice road courtesy.
13. At intersections, before moving forward on a green light, check for vehicles that may be trying to beat the yellow light.
14. Be extra cautious around large trucks. They have a blind spot on the right and may not see you.
15. Use extra caution when driving in bad weather conditions, such as rain, sleet, or snow.
16. Watch out for kids or animals that may suddenly dart to the road.
17. Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination so that you do not have to rush.
The best way to avoid being involved in a road accident is to drive safely. Always follow the rules of the road, maintain your vehicle, and be aware of your surroundings. If you are ever involved in an accident, make sure to stay calm and call the police. Do not leave the scene until law enforcement tells you it is okay to do so.