While a car accident can happen at any time and place, accidents often increase in both frequency and severity during traffic congestion. Even a minor fender bender can leave you with a need for costly car repairs, and possibly even medical bills. If you are not at fault for the accident, you may be able to hold the negligent driver liable for the accident and collect compensation from them.
Why Traffic Congestion is Dangerous?
When you are stuck in traffic, your frustration levels rise. Even if you have no control over the situation, you may become easily agitated. Other drivers are the same and could lead to aggressive behavior, including:
- Accelerating quickly
- Road rage
- Stopping quickly
When drivers take these actions, there is a greater likelihood of an accident. With more cars on the road during traffic congestion going irregular speeds at shorter following distances, the chances of an accident increase significantly.
How to Stay Safe During Traffic Congestion?
You should never assume that just because you are a good driver, you can avoid a collision with bad drivers. Sometimes, accidents happen even if you are driving defensively. You simply cannot control the actions of the other drivers on the road, especially in heavy traffic situations.
Here are some ways that you can help increase your chances of avoiding a crash:
- Leave yourself extra time to get to your destination in case of bad traffic
- Avoid distractions by keeping your phone away and only using it for directions
- Have an alternate route planned so, if traffic is bad, you can quickly audible and go another direction
- Always follow the laws of the road by using your turn signals, keeping to the speed limit, and stopping at red lights
Common Heavy Traffic Accidents
Even if you take the necessary precautions, other drivers could still let their emotions get the best of them and take actions which cause an accident. Here are the most common causes of traffic accidents in heavy congestion.
- Distracted driving: This is why you always keep your phone out of arm’s reach. That is the number one cause of traffic accidents. The text can wait. More than just phones, people can also be distracted by other passengers and children. Some people even try to eat food or put on makeup while commuting. These are all terrible ideas that can have tragic consequences.
- Illegal U-turns: As drivers approach a slowdown, many attempt to make a U-turn and go back to take another route. Many of these U-turns are actually illegal, especially when made at some place other than an intersection. When drivers make any U-turn, legal or illegal, they risk a serious accident if they are not paying close attention to oncoming traffic.
- Driving in the wrong lane: On roads without a median, drivers may try to drive in the opposite lane of travel to get ahead or past heavy traffic. Not only is this illegal, it puts themselves and other drivers are serious risk of tragic accidents. Head-on collisions are frequently deadly and that is exactly what could happen when a driver attempts to get past traffic by using the wrong side of the road.
- Road rage: As frustrations run high, drivers become more aggressive and take more risks than normal. Even for otherwise passive and defensive drivers, road rage can become a real problem. If you see another driver being aggressive, do not try to stop them or get in their way. That is not your job. Let them pass and do not engage them as that can only make matters worse.
- Sideswipes: When heavy traffic hits, drivers often try to change lanes frequently to move into a lane that seems to be moving faster. When this happens, drivers have to make split-second decisions and they could miss a car in their blind spot. That could lead to a sideswipe accident. These do not sound serious, but they can leave people with bad injuries and expensive car repairs.
What to Do After an Accident?
Even if you have done everything right, you may still find yourself in a car accident during heavy traffic. If you do, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you preserve evidence of the accident to eventually hold the negligent driver accountable. Above all, you need to make sure you and your passengers are not seriously injured.
- Call 911 to have emergency medical personnel evaluate everyone’s injuries
- Allow the police to come and document the crash by speaking with you and the other driver, plus any witnesses
- Speak with witnesses to get their contact information
- Take extensive pictures and videos of your injuries, each car, and the entire accident scene
- Do not admit fault to anyone
- Do not give a recorded statement to your insurance company or the insurance company representing the other driver
- Exchange contact information with the other driver
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver
- Contact a trusted car accident lawyer
Taking the above steps will increase your chances of avoiding financial hardship due to an accident you did not cause. When you can prove that someone else caused your crash, you may be able to collect compensation from them to cover your medical expenses, car repairs, and other damages.
The Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help You After a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident presents many challenges, but you do not have to tackle the fallout alone. Speak with our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow to learn more about your legal options. Contact us today at (302) 427-9500 or fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with our experienced team. With offices in Wilmington, Delaware, we proudly serve our neighbors throughout the state.