Richmond Causes of Car Accidents
Driving in Richmond can be dangerous. Many accidents happen in intersections, such as Staples Mill Road and Dickens Road, Midlothian Turnpike and Turner Road, or Hull Street Road and Hey Road, as well as on the interstates and other heavily traveled roads. In 2017, Richmond had 5,487 automobile accidents with 21 fatalities and 2,649 injuries. With 143,769 licensed drivers, there was a 0.15 death rate per 1,000 drivers in Richmond.
Any motor vehicle collision can cause serious injuries or even death. Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, but most involve some form of driver negligence. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the majority of traffic accidents can be attributed to bad judgment on the part of the driver or poor driver performance.
Everyone must exercise reasonable care when driving a vehicle. Failure to use reasonable care means that either a person does something that a reasonable person wouldn’t, or fails to do something a reasonable person would, resulting in a car accident. This idea seems simple but may prove complicated when applied to a car accident lawsuit. If you have been involved in a car accident, you need the help of an experienced car accident attorney to hold those at fault accountable for their actions.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
It only takes one mistake to cause a car accident. However, many accidents result from more than one cause, so several people and entities may be involved in the case. Common causes include:
Distracted driving typically involves one or more of the following:
- Cognitive, or not paying attention to your driving
- Visual, or not watching the road, even briefly
- Manual, or taking your hands off the wheel
You may believe you are adept at multitasking, but anything that diverts your attention from driving can be a distraction and an accident risk. You may think you are not distracted, but scientific research shows that you are. Texting or talking on a cell phone, checking a map or using a navigation system, eating, adjusting the sound system, and even watching the scenery are just a few examples of distracted driving.
According to the Drive Smart Virginia highway safety organization, distracted driving contributes to nearly 80 percent of all car crashes each year. Using a mobile device drastically increases the odds of a collision. That is why Virginia law prohibits texting while driving, or the use of devices that are not hands-free. There are some exceptions to this law, such as emergency vehicles or lawfully parked and stopped vehicles.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Drinking
In Virginia, about 32 percent of all traffic fatalities were caused by alcohol-related accidents. There were 244 alcohol-related car accidents in Richmond in 2017. As a result, 169 people were injured, and seven people died.
If you are operating a motor vehicle (or watercraft) in Virginia and your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher, you may be charged with driving or operating under the influence (DUI). However, if you are driving a motor vehicle and are under the age of 21, then you fall within the zero tolerance law and cannot have any alcohol in your system. There are several ways you can violate Virginia’s DUI laws, and the penalties for doing so are severe. Driving while under the influence of illegal drugs, over the counter or prescription medication is also illegal.
Driving over the speed limit is a leading factor in accidents. Almost 55 percent of accidents in the U.S. are caused by speeding drivers. Speeding increases the risk of a crash and the severity of injuries because:
- The driver is too close to the danger and cannot react in time to avoid the accident
- The driver has to brake harder and may lose control of the car
- The crash happens with more force, so the injuries are greater
In 2017, 775 car crashes in Richmond were caused by speeding. These accidents resulted in 392 injuries and two fatalities.
The definition of reckless driving varies from one state to another, but fundamentally, reckless driving refers to driving a vehicle at a dangerous speed, or driving in such a way that disregards the safety of others. Reckless drivers know they are taking a risk but do it anyway. In Virginia, reckless driving is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Tailgating is following another vehicle too closely. It may be accidental, but in some cases, it is intentional, such as aggressive driving or road rage. It is dangerous because when the front car suddenly comes to a stop, the rear car is unable to stop in time. About 40 percent of traffic accidents in Virginia are caused by following too closely.
Failure to Yield
Failure to yield is the second largest cause of traffic accidents in Virginia. When a driver fails to yield the right of way to pedestrians, bicyclists, or another driver, there is often a collision.
Running a red light
Most people run red lights either because they are distracted, or they are in a hurry. In many cases, drivers speed up when the light turns yellow in order to “beat the light.” Instead, the light turns red, and the result is a dangerous collision.
Running a stop sign
According to national statistics, approximately 700,000 accidents each year, or one-third of all intersection crashes in the United States happen at intersections with stop signs. The reasons are often the same as for running a red light. People are distracted, impatient, they do not come to a complete stop (called a rolling stop), or their view is obstructed. Whatever the reason, the result is often a collision.
Poor weather conditions
Many drivers fail to adjust their driving for road or weather conditions. Rain, snow, ice, fog, and many other weather conditions may make the roads slippery or cause poor visibility. Badly maintained roads or unexpected obstacles or hazards can cause a driver to swerve or lose control of the vehicle.
Call Emroch & Kilduff if a Richmond Car Crash Injured You
Human error causes ninety-four percent of car accidents. Because of these accidents, people suffer the consequences, such as enormous medical bills, long-term disability, or death. If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, consult an experienced, compassionate Richmond car accident attorney as soon as possible. For a free initial consultation, call our offices at (804) 358-1568, or contact us online.