How To Avoid Being a Negligent Driver?
Countless accidents are caused every year by the negligence of one or both drivers. Yet, driver negligence does not always correlate to bad intentions.
The key lies in understanding how the legal world looks at negligence. To car accidents lawyers, insurance providers, and courts, negligence involves failing to perform the reasonable, expected actions that a careful driver would. For instance, a driver who forgets to turn on the car’s headlights during a rainstorm could be labeled as negligent if the oversight leads to a collision with another vehicle.
The bottom line is that anyone can become a negligent driver and cause a crash. You can take precautionary steps to avoid the stress, expense, and potential injury of acting negligently, though.
Reduce Your Personal Distractions When Driving
The moment you slide behind the wheel, you owe other drivers and pedestrians the courtesy of your full attention. This means turning off your cell phone, putting down your cup of coffee, and maybe lowering the volume of the radio or turning the radio off.
According to nationwide 2019 motor vehicle statistics analyzed by the Insurance Information Institute (III), more than 3,000 people were killed that year entirely or partially because of driver distractions. Certainly, you cannot predict all distractions, such as a deer that leaps in front of your car without warning. Nevertheless, you are expected to limit the distractions you can control.
Maintain the Health and Safety of Your Car
Plenty of accidents could be avoided if car owners kept up with repairs and maintenance. For instance, bald tires are more apt to blow out. Ignoring a flashing engine light can set the stage for a breakdown in the middle of the highway. Even leaving snow or ice on your windows and rooftop can obstruct your vision and contribute to a crash.
The way around this is to stay on top of the general health of your car. Test all the lights at least monthly. Rotate your tires. Pay attention to any indications that something may be wrong. Your diligence may cost a little money upfront but could save you far more by helping you bypass an accident.
Follow the Basic Rules of the Road
Every time you speed, you put everyone on the road with you at risk. This includes you and any passengers you may have. It can be tempting to speed up, particularly if you are running late or want to get home after a long day at work. Resist the urge.
Maybe you have driven for a long time. In that case, you may want to refresh yourself on road rules. It might be worth refreshing your memory on everything from the New Jersey “Move Over” law to how to approach railroad crossings. Saying that you forgot or did not know a state rule will not excuse you from being called negligent if you wreck your vehicle or hurt someone else.
Expect Holiday Traffic Delays
Memorial Day. The Fourth of July. Labor Day. The day before Thanksgiving. There are so many times that more people are on the roads than usual. Typically, you can predict when traffic will be stop-and-go. You also can use apps to show you where congestion is happening in real time.
Instead of allowing holiday-related traffic delays to make you angry or encourage you to act aggressively, plan for them. You may want to leave later or earlier to avoid them. Anticipating them will keep you from making irresponsible decisions like tailgating, which can lead to serious rear-end accidents.
Drive Only While Sober
You may assume you are sober after having a few drinks. Is it worth the risk? No. The III estimates that around 10% of all fatal accidents in 2019 had a driving while under the influence connection. Being charged with drinking while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can seriously impact your whole life. If you get into an accident and your blood alcohol content level is above the legal limit, you could face significant repercussions.
Sober driving is smart driving. It is also a good way to ensure that you take care of yourself and others.
Be a Good Role Model for Newer Drivers
Are you trying to teach someone in your family to drive, such as a teenager? Remember that you are the person’s role model for driving. This means that the actions you take, whether they are responsible or irresponsible, are going to make an impression on the new driver. Your job is to be sure that everything you do helps your up-and-coming driver stay safer on the road.
Some strategies to impart wisdom on a younger or first-time driver include mapping out routes together, noting other drivers’ poor decisions, and teaching about basic car maintenance. Helping someone else avoid being a negligent driver speaks volumes about you as a sensible driving mentor.
What If Your Negligence Ends up Contributing to a Car Crash?
Despite your best efforts, you took your eyes off the road for a few seconds to check an incoming text. At that moment, you collided with a car that ran a stoplight. In that situation, you both might be deemed partially responsible under New Jersey’s rule of comparative negligence.
Like many states, New Jersey allows negligence to be shared by the parties involved in an accident. Your damages would be reduced by your percentage of negligence. Consequently, if you suffered $5,000 in total damages but were 50% responsible for the collision, you would receive $2,500.
Of course, you may feel that you have been called a negligent driver by mistake. Talking with a car accident lawyer can help you understand how to proceed. It never hurts to discuss your case with an attorney who offers free initial consultations.
Above all else, do your part as a thoughtful, courteous driver. Negligence is fairly easy to avoid in most situations. Although you may still get into a fender-bender or more significant collision, you will feel better knowing you did everything in your power to be attentive and diligent.
Car Accident Lawyers in Highland Park at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Advise Drivers Who Have Been Charged with Negligent Driving
Were you called a negligent driver after being in a crash in New Jersey? To discuss your case, please call the car accident lawyers in Highland Park from the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. You can reach our Highland Park, NJ, office by calling 732-537-8570 or 877-249-4600. Alternatively, you can complete our online appointment request form. Our firm covers cases in areas including Metuchen, Middlesex, Sayreville, New Brunswick, South River, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Bound Brook, Iselin, Piscataway, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Fords, Somerset, Old Bridge, and Edison.