Automobile accidents are in the top 10 causes of death in the United States, so it’s no wonder that one can’t watch television or walk down the street without seeing a personal injury lawyer advertisement for those injured, or worse, in vehicle related accidents.
In 2009, there were 10.8 million vehicle accidents in the U.S. and of those, 30,797 were fatal. Seventy-two percent of deaths were that of passenger vehicle occupants and 13.2 percent were those on a motorcycle. Sadly, 2009 represents a year in which vehicle fatalities decreased for the first time in over a decade.
Given these bone-chilling statistics, how does one avoid accidents and act in the event of such an accident?
Basic Passenger Vehicle Safety Tips
- Always direct your attention to the road;
- Be aware of your surroundings;
- Drive cautiously during times of poor weather;
- Abide by road signs;
- Don’t drive too fast or slow compared to the movement of traffic;
- Always use your turn signals;
- Allow dangerous drivers to pass you;
- Ensure that you and your passengers always wear a seatbelt;
- Avoid distractions, such as texting and driving.
Basic Motorcycle Safety Tips
All of the safety tips above apply to motorcyclists; additionally, here are a few more that precautions motorcyclists should take:
- Always wear a Department of Transportation approved helmet;
- Wear the proper cycling safety gear every single time you use your motorcycle;
- Wear brightly covered clothing;
- Be extra cautious of drivers around you as nearly 75 percent of motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle;
- Take a driver safety course before you begin riding and periodically thereafter;
- Avoid driving at night or early in the morning, or during times of bad weather as visibility isn’t good;
- Practice defensive driving techniques in case a dangerous situation may arise;
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
What To Do In the Event of an Accident – Passenger Vehicles
If you should find yourself in a crash situation, do the following:
- Assess your injuries:
- If injured, do not move because you may not understand the degree to which you are injured;
- If you do conclude that you are not injured, check to see if anyone else involved is injured and call for help if necessary;
- Take pictures of all damages sustained during the accident;
- Move the accident party, if possible, off of the road;
- File a police report if you were not the party at fault;
- Collect the other driver’s contact and insurance information, regardless of who is at fault.
- If the accident was not your fault and the other driver’s insurance does not fully cover damages to your car or your medical bills, contact a car accident lawyer.
What To Do In the Event of an Accident – Motorcyclists
As a motorcyclist, the steps for dealing with a crash are similar except for steps 1 and 7:
- Assess your injuries:
- If you laid down your bike during the accident, you will more than likely be injured. Be very careful not to move until someone assists you. Adrenaline and shock may prevent you from understanding or feeling how injured you are, and moving could make those injuries worse.
- If the accident was not your fault and the other driver’s insurance does not fully cover damages to your motorcycle, your medical bills, your lost wages, etc., contact a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.