Experienced Attorneys Fighting for Victims of Accidents Occurring on Georgia Highways

traffic jamThose of us living and working in Atlanta and the surrounding area spend a lot of time on the freeway, exposing ourselves to danger and potential accidents each time we use the highway.

We suffer through some of the longest commutes in the country, according to a recent study by Texas A&M University. It estimates the Atlanta area’s average commute is fifty minutes, the third worst in the U.S. (Washington, DC, at 53 minutes, tops the list). Metro Atlanta ranked fourth for costs due to trucks delivering late shipments, seventh for individual commuter delays and expenses, and eighth in wasted time.

The more time we’re on the road, the more likely we’ll be involved in an accident. Here are some situations and issues that frequently cause accidents.

1. Speeding

The faster one drives, the less room there is for error. Stopping distances increase and there is less time to react to another driver, increasing the risk of an accident. Speeding vehicles often don’t keep a safe enough distance between them and the vehicles in front of them. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 238 people were killed in Georgia in speeding related accidents in 2009, about 18.5% of all traffic fatalities that year.

2. Quick lane changes

Drivers are not just driving fast; they’re often switching lanes back and forth to drive as fast as they can. This may surprise or startle another driver, especially if that driver is inattentive or distracted, causing him or her to make a mistake and cause an accident. If a driver quickly brakes to avoid a car suddenly in the lane, it may cause a rear-end collision and possibly a chain reaction of accidents. Drivers attempting to get off on at an exit, but in the wrong lane, may cross several lanes to get where they want to be.

3. Merging onto and exiting the freeway

A car merging onto the freeway may face a stream of traffic and abruptly get into a travel lane. This can be complicated where there are on and off ramps close to each other, with cars jockeying to get on and off the highway. When possible, give those going on and off the highway enough room to maneuver and expect the unexpected. If you’re merging onto the highway, accelerate to highway speed. Trying to get on the highway at a slow speed, or from a complete stop, can increase the risk of being rear-ended.

4. Distracted and impaired drivers

Drivers distracted by smart phones, eating, drinking, or dealing with misbehaving kids in the back seat can be just as hazardous as impaired or intoxicated drivers. A car that is drifting in and out of lanes or suddenly speeding up or slowing down is a car to be avoided. A driver talking on the phone or texting is not focused on the traffic around him or her and is literally an accident waiting to happen.

5. Road rage

Given how frustrating a commute can be and how busy people’s lives are, it’s not surprising how many road rage incidents occur. If you’re driving, it’s a time to focus on driving, not everything else going on in your life. If you feel another driver is being aggressive and endangering you or another vehicle, if there’s another person in the car, have that person report it to the police. Stay calm. Seeking retribution and pursuing the other vehicle can cause you or others to become involved in an accident. There may also be a firearm in the offending vehicle and a driver willing to use it on the freeway.

6. Weather conditions

Rain can limit visibility and increase stopping distances. Sun and glare can blind drivers, making them unable to drive safely. Sunrise and sunset, with changing light conditions, can be especially hazardous. As we in the Atlanta area have learned, icy road conditions are especially treacherous.

When driving on the freeways, buckle up, stay alert, and stay safe. Over the years, we’ve helped many clients severely injured in freeway accidents. If you’ve fallen victim to a freeway accident, contact the expert Georgia car accident injury lawyers at Van Sant Law to discuss your situation and possible legal options that may result in compensation for your injuries.