For most people that live in the state of Michigan, owning a vehicle is a necessity. When you are a car owner in this state, you will be able to get around the area, enjoy all the local amenities, and efficiently get to work and school. While there are a lot of advantages that come with owning a car, and driving is generally safe, there is always a chance that you could be involved in an auto accident. There are various common causes of car accidents in the state of Michigan that you should be aware of.
One of the most common causes of vehicle accidents in Michigan is reckless driving. When someone is reckless behind the wheel of a car, they will be making dangerous and illegal maneuvers that are harder to predict by other drivers. Reckless activities ultimately put all motorists on the road at a higher risk of accidents. There are various types of reckless driving, in particular, to be aware of.
The most common form of reckless driving in this state is speeding. No matter where you are driving your car in Michigan, there will be a set speed limit. The speed limit is set based on the type of road and hazards in the area. While you may be able to drive at high speed on the highway, areas with heightened risks including residential streets or schools zones will have much lower speed limits. While some level of speeding is common, those that drive well above the established limit will increase the risk that an accident occurs.
Driving Too Slow
As a counter to excessive speeding, driving too slow in some situations can also put people at risk. If you are driving on a major highway or interstate, it is expected that you will be driving at a high speed that is near the speed limit. If you drive much lower than this, it can disrupt the flow of traffic and will increase the chance that you cause an accident. Due to this, most highways will have a posted speed minimum as well.
Not Following Traffic Signs and Signals
Similar to other states, there are traffic signs and signals all over roads across the state of Michigan. These signs and signals are designed to help control the flow of traffic and prevent accidents at intersections. All drivers on the road will assume that other motorists are going to pay attention and follow these signs and signals. If you end up going through a red light or stop sign, it could lead to an accident as other motorists will not be able to predict or expect your movement.
Poor Lane Switching
If you are driving at high speeds on the highway, there could come a time when you want to switch lanes. While you may feel that you need to take advantage of a short opportunity to switch lanes, it is important that you are cautious when making a change. This should include ensuring that provide plenty of space between the vehicles in front and behind you when you are getting into the new lane.
Lack of Signal Usage
All cars today in Michigan are required to have functioning turn signals. These signals will notify other drivers that you intend to switch lanes or make a turn. In anticipation of your turn, seeing the signals will result in the other drivers slowing down to ensure they accommodate your decrease in speed when you make the turn. If you do not use a turn signal, it can be a reckless move as it will not provide the notice that other motorists needs.
Anyone that is behind the wheel of a vehicle needs to realize that they are taking on risk when operating at high speeds. Due to this, they need to ensure that they are fully focused on the road and immediate driving conditions. One of the common causes in Michigan continues to be distracted driving. Due to changes in technology, distracted driving accidents continue to be more likely than they were in decades past.
Historically, having engaging conversations or trying to change the radio station would distract drivers. While these distractions can still exist in a car, the use of smartphones and other devices provide many more distractions. If a driver is distracted and not paying attention to the road for even a few seconds, they will miss out on valuable time that is needed to react to an approaching hazard. This reduced reaction time can then increase the chance that an accident could be caused.
Due to the increased risks that come with distracted driving, motorists need to ensure that they are paying attention to the road. If you are tempted to use your phone when driving, you should place it in a compartment of the car that you cannot reach until you get to your destination. This can help reduce the temptation and keep you focused on the road.
Driving Under the Influence
One of the most serious causes of a vehicle accident in Michigan and other states across the country is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Similar to other states, Michigan has strict rules in place surrounding driving under the influence of any substance that could impact your ability to drive safely due to the dangers that the act comes with.
When someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can have a major impact on their ability to drive safely. Those that are under the influence can be more aggressive behind the wheel, will have reduced reaction times, are more prone to becoming distracted or even falling asleep, and will have reduced inhibitions. All of these factors increase the chances that someone could cause an accident.
Due to the seriousness of driving a car when you are impaired due to drug or alcohol use, those that are guilty can face very severe penalties. If you are caught, it could result in various punishments including significant fines, loss of the right to drive and operate a car for a period of time, and even imprisonment. The actual punishment will vary based on whether someone is a repeat offender and whether the reckless actions resulted in a bad accident that caused severe damage or injuries.
Anyone that is a driver in the state of Michigan will know very well how impactful bad weather can be on driving and road conditions. In this state, ice and snow is very common in the winter and rain is common in the summer. When you are driving on a road during or shortly after any form of hazardous weather, you will want to be very careful. This includes providing plenty of space between vehicles, using turn signals, and staying focused on the road at all times.
Unfortunately, not all drivers are as cautious as they should be during poor weather. Further, black ice and snow can be harder to predict and identify for inexperienced drivers. Due to this, there is always an increased likelihood that an accident could occur when you are driving during poor weather conditions. Drivers that want to remain safe should be as cautious as possible and try to avoid using their car when weather is at its worst. If you do need to drive, ensuring your car is prepared is important. This includes ensuring your wipers, lights, signals, and tires are in good condition and working properly.
Most people in the state of Michigan will start driving a vehicle when they are just a teenager. While you are legally able to drive a car at a young age, it does not mean that you will be experienced enough to make sound decisions when behind the wheel. Inexperienced drivers are more likely to make mistakes, which could increase the chances that they will cause an accident. They are also more likely to be aggressive and make decisions that could put other motorists at risk.
While younger and less experienced drivers have a higher likelihood of causing an accident in any situation, there are scenarios that come with even more risk. Some situations that come with additional risk for teenagers include if they are driving at night, during poor weather, or are in traffic conditions that they are not yet experienced with.
Even experienced drivers with decades behind the wheel can come with more driving risk if they are in scenarios or locations that they are not familiar with. For example, if someone from a warm state comes to Michigan during the winter, they may not have the experience needed to drive safely during the winter. Further, someone that is visiting a crowded city of summer vacation town in the state may not be aware of local driving laws and quirks, which can lead to a heightened risk of causing an accident.
The majority of vehicle accidents on the road will be due to user error, bad decisions, or inexperience. However, there are situations in which an accident could be due to mechanical failures with the vehicle. There are various mechanical issues that could cause an accident. Some of these can include if your brakes are worn and weakened, if your tire tread is worn down, or if your lights or turn signals are not working properly. Any of these issues could make it harder for you to stop your car or will make your vehicle and driving maneuvers harder to see and predict, which could lead to an increased chance of causing an accident.
Due to the potential hazards that come with mechanical failures, it is important to have your vehicle inspected and repaired regularly. This can include having your tires and brakes inspected, ensuring that your turn signals and lights are working, and having wiper blades replaced regularly. Ultimately, a better functioning vehicle will be safer to drive and can help reduce the chance that you are involved in a car accident.
Collisions with Animals or Pedestrians
When most people think of auto accidents, they will envision two or multiple vehicles being involved in a larger pileup. While these are common types of car accidents, there are others in which only one motorist is involved. In certain areas of Michigan where deer are abundant, there is always a chance that one could dart across a road. In these cases, the erratic movements of a deer could cause a collision in which a motorist hits a deer. Due to this, it is very important that you are cautious and fully focused on the road when driving through an area that is surrounded by trees and has a high deer population.
Accidentally hitting a pedestrian can also occur in some difficult situations. Even if you are a cautious driver, there is always a chance that a pedestrian or bike rider could try to cross the street suddenly or is not paying attention to oncoming traffic. As any level of a collision with a pedestrian or bike rider can be devastating and lead to serious injuries, it is important to drive an appropriate speed when in areas where there are a lot of people walking around.
Driving when Fatigued
One common cause of auto accidents that may surprise a lot of people is that you have much more risk driving when you are tired. While you can be an experienced driver and focused on the road, if you are tired it can greatly impact your ability to drive a car safely. A fatigued driver is likely to have reduced reaction times and inhibitions, which can increase the chances that they cause an accident. There is also a chance that a driver could fall asleep behind the wheel, which comes with heightened risks of causing an accident as well.
Due to this, drivers should always take proper precaution if they are not properly energized before getting behind the wheel. This can include not driving at night, driving with the windows open and radio on to stay alert, and pulling off the road if they start to feel drowsy. Being safe and cautious can ultimately help someone avoid causing a collision that comes with fatigued driving.
Driving at Night
Anyone that is cautious about car collisions in Michigan should also make sure that they are particularly care when driving at night. Driving during the night comes with various hazards that increase the likelihood of a collision occurring. One of the challenges that can come at night is that there is reduced visibility. If you are driving at night, particularly in rural areas, the only source of light you will have is headlights. This can make it harder to see hazards on the road or even other vehicles if they do not have their headlights on.
Another challenge with driving at night is that people are more likely to be tired. As discussed, there are a lot of risks that come with driving when you are fatigued. As most people rest during the evenings, the typical driver is more likely to be tired when they are on the road. Additionally, the chance that you are sharing the road with someone that is under the influence and driving impaired is also higher at night.
An additional challenge with driving at night is that the weather tends to get colder. During the winter months of the year, any moisture on the road can quickly turn to ice. This can increase the chances of a collision being caused due to poor road conditions. Overall, as there are various risks that come with driving at night, it remains important that you are cautious at all times.
Common Damages Incurred in a Car Accident
While driving a vehicle is generally a safe activity, there are various actions and situations that can increase the likelihood that someone does can an accident. If you are involved in any type of accident, there are various types of damages that you can incur. These can include vehicle repair bills, transportation costs until you are able to drive your car again, medical and therapy costs, lost wages due to inability to work, and even pain and suffering. Depending on the accident, these costs can add up quickly and receiving the proper support and reimbursement for your losses is very important.
Reasons to Hire an Attorney
If you are involved in an auto accident in Michigan that results in damages, it is important that you hire an attorney to receive proper legal representation. If the accident is bad, you should hire an attorney as soon as you can as they can provide the services that you need to ensure that you receive proper reimbursement from either the negligent party in a vehicle accident or an insurance company.
When you first hire an attorney, they can offer a full consultation on your case. This will include having them provide a full assessment of your case and then help you determine which parties should be responsible for the damage. They can then provide any support you need to file an insurance claim or seek damages from the other parties involved. Your attorney can offer all the support that you need when it comes to negotiating a fair settlement with the other party. This can help ensure that you receive adequate compensation and will also free up time so you can focus on your recovery following the accident.
When someone is looking to file Michigan car accident claims, a great place to start your search and process is by calling the team with Goodman Acker. The attorneys and legal professionals with Goodman Acker are experienced in the state of Michigan with personal injury and car accident law. They will help you with all of your legal support needs to help ensure you receive the proper support and compensation fo your situation.
Article by Born Realist