Drive on Florida highways at your own risk
According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 6 million motor vehicle accidents in 2012 alone (data for 2013 is not yet available). That averages out to more than 16,400 collisions each day, 684 per hour and 11 each minute. The sad truth is that by the time you are finished reading this sentence, there have probably been at least 22 car accidents across the country. Tragically, crashes took the lives of about 34,000 people and injured another 2.36 million across the country in that same timeframe.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMV) provides equally disturbing statistics specific to the “Sunshine State.” For example, there were 281,340 reported traffic accidents in Florida in 2012 alone, with more than 2,280 people killed and almost 200,000 injuries. This means that there are about 770 car accidents across the state in any given day.
Given the congestion on our country’s roads, it isn’t startling that accidents regularly occur, but the frequency at which they occur is upsetting. You may be wondering why there are so many crashes. Each accident is unique, but there are common causes shared by many. For example, the NHTSA reports that alcohol is a factor in 31 percent of the nation’s fatal crashes. Other common causes include:
- Distracted driving (texting, emailing and talking on cellphones, as well as eating, drinking, reading or grooming behind the wheel)
- Reckless driving
- Failure to account for traffic or road conditions
- Driving while fatigued
- Failure to yield the right of way to other vehicles, bicyclists or pedestrians
- Defective, faulty or worn out vehicle components
Gathering vital information
If you are involved in an accident – statistically, we are all likely to be involved in at least one traffic accident in our lives – it is important that you not jeopardize your health or your legal rights. This can be difficult in the heat of the moment, when your adrenaline is pumping, especially if you or a loved one have been injured.
Having a predetermined plan for what to do can make it much less stressful. For example, if possible, get your vehicle out of the flow of traffic. This may be difficult, but it can reduce the chance of another vehicle crashing into you. If there are injuries, call 911 immediately to notify police and emergency medical services. Try, if you are physically able, to get information from the other driver (including his or her name, address, driver’s license number and insurance information) as well as any witnesses; this can make it easier to file an insurance claim down the road.
Bringing in reinforcements
The time after an injury-causing or fatal car accident is stressful and chaotic. Once injuries have been treated, though, it is time to call in reinforcements before you deal with insurance companies, attorneys hired by the other parties involved or the police. If you have questions about how best to proceed and get your life back on track, contact a personal injury attorney today.