There was a significant increase in auto accidents in Georgia in 2015 and 2016, according to GDOT (http://www.dot.ga.gov/BuildSmart/performance/Pages/Fatalities.aspx), prompting many to question what is causing all of these incidents and what can be done to stop these auto accidents and deaths from rising in 2017. Discussing the most common causes of Georgia auto accidents is a good place to start, so this is what we’ll be looking at today.
Various Forms of Distracted Driving
The leading cause of auto accidents in Georgia and throughout the US, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (https://www.nhtsa.gov) is distracted driving. This cause has become more and more common with the increased use of smartphones and texting while driving, which is why many states have passed laws to prohibit these activities on the road. Even so, texting and driving is not the only form of distracted driving, only the most recent to take hold of the nation. Long before there were smartphones, there were distractions like grooming (applying makeup or fixing your hair), eating while driving, changing the radio station, and talking to passengers or trying to manage the behavior of children in the back seat.
Drivers Failing to Follow the Speed Limit
Speed limits are set for a reason, to ensure that everyone is traveling at an appropriate speed to prevent accidents and minimize the severity of accidents when they occur. Yet, many people have developed a habit of travelling at high speeds because they’re in a hurry, they enjoy the speed, or they simply aren’t paying attention to their speed. In many cases, speeding is associated with aggressive driving behaviors, and it frequently causes auto accidents.
Driving While Intoxicated by Drugs or Alcohol
When people choose to operate their vehicles while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they put themselves and everyone else at risk of a tragic auto accident. When someone is intoxicated, they are less likely to make responsible decisions, they are less aware of the requirements of the road and traffic around them, and they are extremely likely to cause a serious auto accident. They may drive the wrong way, weave in and out of traffic, cut people off, or exceed the speed limit. When an accident seems likely to occur, they are less likely to be aware or to respond appropriately to prevent the accident.
Driving in Inclement Weather Conditions
Another common cause of auto accidents in Georgia is the presence of challenging weather conditions. These can include slippery roads from rain or ice, heavy winds, thick fog, pouring rain, and various other weather issues that can limit visibility or impair vehicle control. People with more experience driving in such conditions are less likely to cause an auto accident, and they may be able to avoid auto accidents that are caused by others; but in many cases, there is little that anyone can do to stop an accident caused by poor weather conditions.
Poor Decisions By Inexperienced Teen Drivers
When teenagers start driving, it’s a big rite of passage into the world of adults. Unfortunately, it takes time and experience to get really good at operating a vehicle, responding to hazards, and making wise decisions on the road. All the education in the world is no match for the experience that comes with many years of driving on Georgia roads. Even the most responsible of teen drivers is susceptible to making the wrong decisions when challenged by difficult traffic situations. Further, not all teenagers are the most responsible of drivers. They are more likely to take risks, violate traffic laws, and make decisions based on their internal sense of invincibility. Many teenagers simply believe that the worst case scenarios will never happen to them, so they don’t behave in ways that will minimize the likelihood of those worst case scenarios.
Hazardous Defective and Malfunctioning Vehicle Parts
One common cause of auto accidents, which isn’t always related to driver error, is the impact of defective and malfunctioning vehicle parts. In some cases, this may be due to poor maintenance or inadequate repairs on the part of the driver; but in most cases, it is the fault of the designer or manufacturer of the part. The Takata airbag recalls are a perfect and memorable example from recent news, but they are far from the only example. There are accidents caused by defective brakes, steering wheels, ignition switches, and various other vehicle parts that were either designed or manufactured incorrectly or inappropriately. It can be very difficult to avoid accidents and serious injuries when they are caused by defective vehicle parts. Even the most experienced and responsible drivers can fall victim to such defects and malfunctions.
General Driver Negligence and Poor Driver Decisions
When it comes to driver negligence and poor driver decisions, there are plenty of ways that accidents can occur. Some drivers will be negligent when making lane changes, because they don’t use their signals or take care when changing lanes. Other drivers will accidentally find themselves driving the wrong way on a one way road, leading to a head-on collision. Then, there are all too common situations where someone accidentally makes a turn incorrectly. They may fail to use their signal, fail to yield the right of way to other vehicles, or turn without stopping.
Finally, a very common cause of rear end auto accidents is found in the drivers who follow too close to the vehicles in front of them. In many cases, the front driver will also behave inappropriately by tapping their brakes to ‘brake check’ the rear driver, ultimately contributing to the factors that cause the rear end collision. When these accidents happen, they can quickly become a domino effect in which one driver strikes the vehicle in front, causing the vehicle behind them to strike their vehicle, and so on with all vehicles in a line of traffic.
Contact an Attorney After a Georgia Auto Accident
Whatever the cause of your Georgia auto accident, contact the compassionate car crash attorneys in Atlanta at the Law Office of John B. Jackson to get a free consultation and learn more about your rights and options.