Driving in the U.S. is more than just a way to commute to work. Traveling by car is often how we vacation with our families. This is especially true in 2016, as gas prices plummeted and stayed relatively low across the nation. As we become more dependent on our vehicles, we face an increased likelihood of getting into a car crash. You may believe you are safe during your commute from home to work or driving to your local grocery store—but the majority of car accidents occur close to home.
The Dangers of Getting Comfortable
When you think of a car crash, you probably picture the interstate, hours away from your property. Perhaps you are drowsy from a long trip or you are driving in an unfamiliar place with strange traffic patterns. Many people are surprised to realize statistics reveal the opposite: drivers are most likely to be involved in a car accident within five-miles of home.
Lack of driver attention is one of the leading causes of car accidents. From mobile device use to fiddling with the radio, drivers may take their eyes off the road for many reasons. When people drive close to home, they feel comfortable. Like when we do any task on autopilot, we can get too comfortable and fail to pay attention while driving to familiar destinations.
Collisions often occur in neighborhoods, where residents are familiar with the roads and traffic signals and feel comfortable rolling through stop signs, running red lights they know do not have cameras, and speeding through residential zones. Drivers in neighborhoods also face hazards such as pedestrians in the roadway—especially children at play. Drivers may have to swerve to avoid obstacles, sideswiping or colliding with other vehicles.
When we drive through familiar places, we often assume there will not be any surprises. If you drive the same route day in and day out for a decade, it is easy to rely on muscle memory rather than the skills active driving requires. Instead of floating through your daily commute with half an eye on the road, focus entirely on the driving task at hand to avoid accidents.
Heavy Traffic in Metropolitan Areas
Besides driving close to home, the next most dangerous commute is in large cities. Stop-and-go traffic encourages drivers to take their eyes of the road, spend time on mobile devices, eat and drink while driving, and even doze off behind the wheel. Countless commuters use traffic jams to multitask, engaging in personal grooming, catching up on emails, and even reading the paper. It can be difficult to stay alert while in traffic for hours on end, especially if it is a commute you are used to making.
Between the increase in vehicles and the lull of heavy traffic, drivers are in the prime position to drive distracted. This leads to many fender benders, collisions, and pedestrian accidents. You may take your eyes of the roadway to take a sip of coffee and put the mug down to discover the truck in front of you is at a dead stop. Instead of driving distracted during your daily commute through the cities in California, pay strict attention to the road at all times. Turn on the radio or put the windows down if you are at risk of dozing off during stop-and-go traffic.
Involved in a Car Crash in California?
If you are involved in an accident with one of the many people who fall prey to someone driving in autopilot or driving distracted, you have a friend in the Law Offices of Howard Kitay. Our personal injury attorneys have handled hundreds of car accident cases that occurred close to home or on regular commutes. Contact us online or call (619) 442-0542 to speak with an attorney.