As a resident of Texas, you may face more risks on the road than drivers in other states. With some of the highest traffic volumes and longest commute times in the country, Texas also sees a disproportionately high number of motor vehicle accidents. Understanding the leading causes of car accidents in Texas can help you take extra precautions to avoid becoming another statistic. Distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, and reckless driving are the primary factors contributing to the hundreds of thousands of collisions on Texas roads each year. By being aware of these dangers and committing to safe driving practices, you can do your part to make the roads safer for all. Discussing your case with a texas car accident lawyer is always a good idea.
Driver Distraction: The #1 Cause of Car Accidents in Texas
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents in Texas. Driver distraction claimed 3,477 lives nationwide in 2016 alone.
Cell Phone Use
Using a cell phone while driving takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which at normal highway speeds means you've traveled the length of an entire football field. Texting while driving is even more dangerous, as it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver.
Eating and Drinking
Consuming food or beverages diverts your attention and requires the use of at least one hand, limiting your ability to properly control your vehicle. Reaching for items in the vehicle or spilling hot coffee in your lap can have fatal consequences.
Tasks like combing your hair, applying makeup, or shaving take your attention away from the road and your hands off the wheel. These actions severely limit your ability to react in an emergency situation.
Loud or unruly passengers in the vehicle can distract the driver and divert their attention from the road. It is the driver's responsibility to ensure all occupants are properly buckled up and behaving in a manner that does not endanger others on the roadway.
In summary, driving is an activity that requires your full attention. Minimizing distractions is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of being in an accident. Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind on the task of driving. The lives you save could be your own.
Drunk Driving Remains a Persistent Problem on Texas Roads
Drunk driving remains an ongoing issue on Texas roadways. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were over 24,000 alcohol-related crashes in Texas last year, resulting in 1,000 fatalities. ###Impaired Judgment and Slower Reaction Times
When an individual consumes alcohol, their judgment becomes impaired and reaction times slow down. This makes it dangerous for them to operate a motor vehicle, as they cannot properly assess road conditions or react in time to avoid an accident. Even a small amount of alcohol in the system can have a significant impact on driving ability.
To combat drunk driving in Texas, law enforcement utilizes sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and annual enforcement campaigns around holidays like New Year's Eve or major events where alcohol is commonly consumed. However, drunk driving accidents still frequently occur, demonstrating the need for further action. Some steps individuals can take include:
-Designating a sober driver when planning to drink
-Calling a taxi, rideshare, or friend for a ride instead of driving after drinking
-Educating friends and family about the dangers of drunk driving and encouraging them not to drive if they've been drinking
-Reporting suspected drunk drivers to the local authorities immediately
Drunk driving is completely preventable. By making responsible choices, educating others, and staying vigilant, we can all work together to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents and save lives on Texas roads.
Speeding Accounts for 1 in 4 Fatal Crashes in the State
Speeding is a leading cause of fatal car accidents in Texas, contributing to nearly 1 in 4 crash-related deaths in the state. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, speeding was a factor in 21% of all traffic fatalities in Texas in 2019.
Excessive Speed Reduces Reaction Times
When driving at high speeds, it becomes much more difficult for drivers to react in time to avoid a collision or accident. At 70 mph, a vehicle is traveling over 100 feet per second, so even a brief moment of distraction or delayed reaction can have devastating consequences. Higher speeds also make it harder for drivers to maintain control of their vehicle, especially around turns or in poor weather conditions.
Higher Speeds Increase Crash Severity
In the event of an accident, the severity of injuries and damage is directly related to the speed at which the vehicles were traveling. Studies show that for every 10 mph increase in speed at the time of a crash, the force of impact and risk of fatality doubles. So collisions at excessive speeds of 70-80 mph are many times more dangerous than those at lower speeds of 40-50 mph.
Targeting High-Risk Areas
To combat speeding and reduce accident rates, law enforcement agencies frequently target areas known to have a high number of speed-related crashes. These high-risk locations, often called "hot spots," are identified through traffic studies and crash data analysis. By increasing patrols and enforcement in these hot spot areas, police aim to change driver behavior and encourage motorists to obey posted speed limits.
In summary, speeding continues to pose a serious threat to road safety in Texas due to the reduced reaction times, higher crash severity, and tendency to target high-risk areas. Obeying posted speed limits and driving with caution can help prevent tragic loss of life on Texas roadways.
Failure to Yield Right of Way When Turning or Crossing Roads
Failure to yield the right of way when turning or crossing roads is a leading cause of car accidents in Texas.
When turning left at an intersection, yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians. Only proceed when the way is clear. Failure to do so can easily result in a dangerous T-bone collision with approaching vehicles. Always signal, pull into the intersection, check for traffic and pedestrians in all directions, and turn only when safe.
Similarly, when turning right on red or at a stop sign, come to a complete stop, check for traffic and pedestrians, and proceed only when the cross traffic has cleared. Do not turn right on red or roll through a stop sign. This illegal maneuver endangers others and can lead to a serious accident.
When crossing a road or turning onto a street, you must yield to vehicles already traveling on that road. Do not pull out in front of approaching traffic, as this can cause the vehicle to strike your driver's side door, resulting in serious injury. Wait for a safe gap in traffic and accelerate briskly to match the flow of vehicles.
In short, failing to yield the right of way when turning or crossing roads puts you and others in danger. Always follow the rules of the road, stop or signal as required, check for oncoming traffic and pedestrians in all directions, and proceed only when the way is clear. Driving cautiously and defensively can help prevent devastating car accidents in Texas.
Weather Conditions Like Rain and Fog Increase Risk of Accidents
Weather conditions like heavy rain, fog, and snow significantly increase the risk of car accidents in Texas. When visibility is low, it becomes difficult for drivers to see other vehicles, pedestals, and potential road hazards.
According to recent studies, rain is a contributing factor in nearly 1 million car crashes each year in the U.S., resulting in thousands of fatalities. On wet, rainy roads, tires lose traction, braking distances increase, and handling becomes more difficult. Hydroplaning can occur, causing drivers to lose control of their vehicle.
Foggy conditions are especially dangerous because visibility is severely reduced. It is difficult for drivers to judge distances and see other vehicles until they are dangerously close. Headlights only provide limited visibility in heavy fog. Driving too fast for conditions in fog often results in multi-car pileups. The safest approach is to avoid driving in fog whenever possible. If you must drive, reduce speed, avoid sudden braking or turning, and increase following distance.
Snow and Ice
Icy, snow-covered roads create hazardous driving conditions that often lead to loss of vehicle control. Braking, accelerating and turning become challenging on slick, icy roads. Drivers should exercise extreme caution, avoid sudden braking, accelerating or turning, reduce speed for conditions, and increase following distance between vehicles.
Following safe driving practices for inclement weather can help reduce your risk of an accident. However, sometimes crashes are unavoidable due to the negligence or recklessness of other drivers. If you or a loved one have been injured in a weather-related car accident in Texas that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help determine if you have a valid claim.
Call A Texas Car Accident Lawyer At Fletcher Law
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident in Texas due to another driver’s negligence, it is in your best interest to contact a reputable Texas car accident lawyer to discuss your legal options. An experienced attorney can advise you on the merits of your potential claim and help ensure that the at-fault party is held accountable. They can also handle all communications with insurance companies on your behalf so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
The first step is to conduct a thorough investigation into the accident to determine who is at fault. Your attorney will collect police reports, eyewitness statements, photographs of the crash scene, and any other relevant evidence to build a case. If it is clear the other driver violated traffic laws or was driving while distracted or impaired, you have grounds for a personal injury claim.
The damages in a car accident case refer to the losses and costs incurred as a result of the crash. This includes both economic damages like medical bills, lost wages, and property damage as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Your lawyer will quantify all past and future damages to determine a fair settlement amount that will adequately compensate you for your injuries and other losses.
Negotiate with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are profit-driven businesses, so they will try to settle claims for as little money as possible. Your attorney has experience negotiating maximum settlement offers with insurance adjusters. They will not be persuaded or intimidated by the insurance company’s tactics. With legal counsel, you are much more likely to recover a fair and just settlement that provides for your needs.
File a Lawsuit
If the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, your lawyer may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to compel them to pay what you rightfully deserve. While litigation can be a lengthy process, it often motivates companies to settle out of court to avoid further legal fees and costs. With an attorney to guide you each step of the way, you have the best chance of prevailing in your case. Call Fletcher Law for help today.
As a Texas driver, it's important to understand the leading causes of car accidents in the state so you know how to avoid becoming another statistic. Driving distracted, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are three of the top culprits in fatal and non-fatal crashes. By focusing on the road, obeying the speed limit, and never getting behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, you can significantly reduce your risk of being in a serious or deadly collision. While auto accidents are often unavoidable due to the actions of other motorists, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to do your part to stay safe. Make it a habit to drive defensively and encourage others to do the same. Together, we can work to decrease accidents and save lives.