COVID-19: Fatal Car Accidents are on the Rise Despite Less Drivers on the Road
Increase in Deadly Car Accidents Poses a Threat for West Virginia
Since the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, many state governments have put into effect stay at home orders. This has led to a decrease in household travel by approximately 72% across the United States. Even though more people are staying off the roads, the number of fatal car accidents and reckless driving has increased.
This is concerning news for residents of West Virginia. Almost half of the crash deaths occur on rural roads in the United States every year. This is especially concerning for West Virginia residents because 65.3% of the state’s roadways are rural. Not to mention West Virginia consistently has significantly higher rates of fatal crashes than the national average.
Why Are Reckless Driving Accidents Up When Fewer Drivers are on the Roads?
This confusing question seems to have a very simple answer according to many psychologists and public safety experts. The roads are open, giving people room to speed. Connecticut State Police Trooper, Josue Dorelus, attested to this, telling ABC News, “We’re finding that with the open roads, certain individuals are taking this as an opportunity to push their vehicles to the limit.” Furthermore, psychologists and public safety experts say this trend can be attributed to the collective effect. If everyone in traffic is moving faster, individual drivers will drive faster even if it’s above the speed limit.
So, in an already high-risk state, what can you do to protect yourself from being injured by a reckless driver?
How You Can Protect Yourself From Reckless Drivers in West Virginia
While car accidents can often be out of your control, there are things you can do to potentially avoid them.
- Be aware of and anticipate what could go wrong: Constantly being aware increases your chance of seeing a problem and still having enough time to react to it.
- Avoid driving in the fast lane: Driving in the left and center lanes gives you more escape routes should a problem suddenly arise. Also, most highway accidents occur in the left lane.
- Drive with your hands in the 9 and 3 o’clock position: This position gives you maximum vehicle control when you’re forced to quickly maneuver to avoid a potential car accident.
- Know the limits of your car: How long does it take to stop when you apply maximum pressure? How much grip do your tires have? These things allow you to judge how much your car can handle, helping you to avoid an accident.
- Judge a driver by his/her car’s condition: Cars that appear inattentive often indicate inattentive owners as well.
- Avoid driving at night: Driving at night comes with many increased hazards. Your own increased fatigue and decreased field of vision, as well as that of others, can present extremely dangerous driving conditions.
Remember, all of these things can help you stay safe on West Virginia roads, but there are many more. To learn more about what you can do to protect yourself on West Virginia roadways check out our article on how to protect yourself from reckless drivers. Sometimes, protecting yourself isn’t enough to keep you from being involved in an auto accident. In this situation what steps you take after you’re in a wreck can heavily impact your case.
What To Do if You’re In a Car Accident
In the unfortunate event that you or someone you know gets into an accident, there are some important things you should remember to do next.
- Collect information: Collect names, license numbers, tag numbers, insurance company names, and insurance policy numbers from other drivers involved in the accident.
- Speak with witnesses: In West Virginia witnesses are crucial to auto accident claims. Try to get their names, addresses, phone numbers, and a written or recorded statement from them.
- Photograph the scene of the accident in its entirety: Take photographs of your injuries, the damage to all vehicles, and of the scene of the accident. This includes any debris, skid marks, and anything else at the scene that might be related to your collision.
- Police report: Report the accident to the police and get a copy of the accident report once available. If you choose West Law Firm to represent you, we will get the accident report for you and ensure accuracy.
- Do not admit fault to anyone: Do not admit fault after the accident. You can and should answer law enforcement questions, but you will likely not have enough information to determine who was legally at fault. Who was at fault is a question of law.
- Do not delay seeking medical treatment: Be sure to seek medical treatment immediately and follow through with all medical treatments. Insurance adjusters will use any delay as evidence that you were not that injured.
These things, and many more, could be the deciding factor to whether or not you recover compensation. For a full list of what you should do after you’ve been in a West Virginia car accident be sure to check out our West Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer’s Checklist.
How to Get a Free Case Review From One of Our West Virginia Injury Lawyers
We hope this information helps keep you and your loved ones stay safe on West Virginia’s roadways. However, if you or they are injured in an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, we invite you to call one of our experienced Charleston, WV accident attorneys for a Free Consultation. We will be happy to advise you of your options and let you know whether we think you need a lawyer — sometimes you don’t. Also, there’s no obligation and NO FEE unless and until we recover compensation for you. Our toll-free number is 1-877-943-9378 (WEST), and we will come to you if that’s more convenient.
Brooks West is a West Virginia personal injury lawyer who helps people who have been injured by negligence or wrongful conduct. He is the President and founder of West Law Firm and has been an attorney since 2005. Brooks is a Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum member and has been awarded the AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.