California is known as the land of sun and surf, but you don’t want to take your eyes off the road while driving in this state. In 2013, there were over 4,000 traffic fatalities in California, with an additional 8,000 people injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that 1 out of every 6 people who die in auto accidents are not wearing seat belts. This says a lot about the unpredictability of car accidents and how vulnerable you are if you’re not buckled up.
There’s always more than one road to take when traveling by car, but it’s important to be aware of all the rules — both state and local — so that you can make decisions that put your safety first.
In Orange County, California, there are many miles of roads with narrow shoulder lanes on either side. Although these lanes can be used for passing or parking, they’re designed for emergency use only. Don’t try to pass on the shoulder! If you’re caught doing so and don’t have a clear way around an obstacle, you might cause an accident that could lead to injury or death. In that unfortunate event, it’s imperative to seek help from an orange county car accident lawyer.
There are a few things you can do to ensure your safety while on the road:
If you’re driving under the influence, imagine how much worse your chances of surviving a crash will be. If you don’t plan to drink, make sure you set up enough distance from other vehicles.
There’s no such thing as a free ride. Last year, more than 20,000 people were killed in alcohol-related car crashes – that’s one death every 40 minutes! And 93% of those accidents involved people who weren’t wearing their seatbelts at the time of impact.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 37 percent of Americans — or more than 100 million people — drive while drowsy at least once a month. Driving on a sleep-deprived night can be dangerous even if you’re not impaired because fatigue can slow reflexes and impede your ability to read road signs.
According to the NHTSA, about 1,000 people die in car accidents each year due to drowsiness. Sleepiness is also a factor in almost 100,000 injuries each year, and it’s one of the most common causes of car accidents in children and young adults ages 16 to 24.
Avoid distractions — both inside and outside the vehicle — when you’re behind the wheel. Distractions like cell phones, music players or other electronic devices can cause drivers to miss something important while they’re driving, like an approaching car or person on foot or bicycle (you might not see them until it’s too late). Keeping your eyes on the road ahead is the best way to avoid distractions and make sure you’re alert for anything that may endanger you or others on the road.
Speed limits are posted for a reason – to keep you safe. Whether you’re driving on a highway or on a city street, they provide important reminders of how much distance you should allow between yourself and the car in front of you.
You’ve probably heard the news recently: California is considering raising speed limits on highways to as much as 85 mph. It is estimated that if limits were raised to this level, the number of deaths would drop by 90% and injuries would decrease by more than half. When it comes to speeding, it’s important not just to follow the speed limit but also to drive at a safe speed for conditions.
Tailgating is a dangerous driving habit. It can lead to crashes, fender-benders, or even worse — getting into an accident with a distracted driver. In order to avoid getting into an accident with someone tailgating you, it’s best to avoid tailgating yourself. The only exception might be when you’re driving in heavy traffic and need to make up for the lost time. But as a general rule of thumb, it’s better to keep the distance between you and the car in front of you and use your turn signal.
Always look both ways before turning, and do not cross double-yellow lines unless you have to. Do not run red lights either. This is illegal and could lead to costly fines or even jail time.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 10% of all traffic deaths are caused by people driving under the influence of drugs or intoxicating substances. That adds up to thousands of deaths a year.
Driving under the influence of alcohol isn’t as big a problem as it used to be, but that’s partly because alcohol has become more regulated than in the past, and partly because people have learned to drink responsibly. So there’s less of a chance you’ll get in an accident under the influence of alcohol, but there’s still a risk when you’re drinking and driving.
When you’re using prescription medications, however, things can get really tricky. Not only can prescription medications impair your reaction time and judgment, but they can also lower your inhibitions and increase your awareness of your surroundings — making it harder for you to avoid accidents. Applying for a new prescription may make sense if you plan on driving soon after taking the medication, but even then, you should wait at least 12 hours after taking it before getting behind the wheel.
Yes, we all want to hit the road and travel, but when we aren’t familiar with an area, it can make us a little bit leery. This is especially true in California. It seems like such a big place that we sometimes forget that there are places within the state that are inherently safer than others. So remember—if you are new to Orange County, keep your eyes open while on the road, especially at night when other drivers might not be able to see you as easily. It could mean the difference between life and death.