Georgia continues to see a very high number of auto accidents each year. Although accidents fell slightly in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the number of fatal accidents didn’t fall at all. Indeed, they actually increased for 2020. And the number of those injured remained stubbornly too high.
Careful drivers confront many dangers on the road, and below we identify five of the worst. If you were involved in a wreck, please contact MG Law today. Our legal team stands ready to help anyone hurt by a dangerous driver.
Georgia requires that motorists drive using reasonable care when driving in public. Generally, this means they need to pay attention and use skills when maneuvering through traffic.
Many drivers are simply careless, however, and they can cause accidents when they:
- Change lanes without checking their blind spot
- Back up without using their mirrors
- Make a right-on-red turn without checking that traffic is cleared
- Fail to yield the right of way, possibly because they don’t know the law requires that they yield
- Make a turn without using their turn signal
- Strike a bicyclist or motorcyclist when passing on the road
Careless driving usually stems from a lack of care. These drivers are not malicious and don’t mean to hurt someone. They simply don’t want to use the car necessary to drive safely.
Distracted driving is on the rise. And the dangers should be obvious. Distracted driving is caused by anything which takes a driver’s eyes off the road or their hand off the wheel, including:
- Drinking coffee or beverages
- Fixing your hair
- Applying makeup
- Dealing with pets in the back seat
- Talking to children
- Using cell phones
- Fiddling with a GPS device
In many ways, the real danger from distracted driving is mental. A driver who uses a hands-free cell phone, for example, is still at a heightened risk of an accident because they are mentally preoccupied with the call. This is true even if both hands are on the wheel and both eyes are on the road.
Studies have shown that motorists are distracted up to 27 seconds after using a mobile phone, a phenomenon which AAA calls a “hangover effect.” The implications of these studies are astounding. For example, a motorist might read a text-only when stopped at an intersection or when parked on the side of the ride. However, their minds will still be distracted for almost half a minute after they finish the call.
Intoxicated or High Drivers
Drivers who are chemically impaired are an obvious danger on the road. Think of all the ways that drugs or alcohol can impair a person’s ability to drive safely:
- Blurred vision. A drunk driver might not even see that they are swerving across the lane line and on the verge of smashing into oncoming traffic. Intoxicated motorists also fail to see pedestrians crossing, bicyclists on the road, and many others.
- Slowed reflexes. Even if a drunk driver can see danger ahead, their reflexes might be so slowed that they cannot take defensive action in time.
- Impaired judgment. When someone is drunk or high, they might think they can beat a yellow light when they can’t or that they can pass a vehicle when oncoming traffic is in the other lane. These poor decisions lead directly to accidents.
- Drowsiness. Alcohol and marijuana increase the risk that someone will fall asleep behind the wheel. A drowsy driver can go into a ditch or hit other vehicles.
- Irritability. An impaired driver might become irritable and fight with others in the car. Irritability increases distraction as well as poor decision-making.
Georgia does not require that motorists have a certain amount of alcohol in their system to be drunk. Instead, they have broken the law if they have any alcohol or drugs which impairs their ability to drive safely.
Speeding is a leading cause of car accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding has been a contributing factor in about a third of fatal accidents for nearly two decades. Speeding has injured hundreds of thousands of more people.
It is easy to see why speeding leads to accidents. The faster someone is driving, the more likely they are to lose control of their vehicle, especially when going around a curve or driving downhill. A speeding vehicle also needs more space and time to stop, which increases the odds of rear-ending someone stopped in front of them. Many people are speeding to beat a red light, which means that the speeding driver is at risk of running a red and slamming into someone who has the right of way.
Even worse, speeding tends to increase the severity of injuries and vehicle damage. For example, an accident at low speeds might lead to some soft-tissue injuries, but a high-speed crash could cause serious brain injuries, paralysis, and even death.
Unfortunately, many cars are unsafe and should not be on the road. For example, the brakes might be worn but not replaced, or the wiper blades could be old and insufficient to clear snow or rain from the windshield. Other dangers include worn tires that are at risk of exploding or blown headlights that fail to illuminate the road.
Motorists should take their car to the mechanic when they see that something is wrong and should, in any event, schedule regular check-ups. Sometimes, a mechanic can find a problem before it becomes so bad that an accident is unavoidable. Sadly, too many motorists are lax about obtaining necessary maintenance.
Sometimes, a negligent mechanic might do poor repairs, or they could fail to catch an obvious problem. Just as we expect medical professionals to correctly diagnose and treat problems with the human body, mechanics must do the same when it comes to cars. If a mechanic failed to use care—and an accident resulted—then you could sue them.
Hurt in a Wreck? Give Us a Call
MG Law has represented injured motorists for decades. To learn more about your legal rights, contact our firm as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.