In California, especially traffic-heavy Los Angeles, auto accidents are extremely common, everyday occurrences. While not all accidents result in injury or fatality, a number of them can and do. According to the 2010 Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions, over 2,700 people were killed in auto accidents and over 160,000 collisions involved the injury of one or more people.
While even the safest driver may not be safe from the injuries that can come from an accident caused by another, there are a number of things that you, as a driver or passenger of a vehicle, can do to prevent injury (or death) in the event of an auto accident.
Thanks to Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, Stephen Csengeri, here are some helpful tips to take to avoid injury or death in an auto accident.
Wear your seatbelt. This is an obvious one, but many deaths from auto accidents are a result of passengers not wearing a seatbelt being ejected from the vehicle. Seatbelts have proven to be lifesavers for millions of people involved in car accidents. In addition to wearing your seatbelt, make sure that you are properly wearing your seatbelt. This means if your seatbelt has a shoulder strap, you should have the strap over the center of your chest and not under your arm. Also, you can secure your seatbelt usually by leaning forward until it locks and clicks in place.
Follow the law. In California, wearing your seatbelt is a law. So, that’s law #1 that you should follow; however, in addition to the seatbelt law, you should follow a number of other laws that are in place for your safety. One is speed limits. Speed limits are not posted so that the government has a way to cite you and collect money. They’re there for your safety, believe it or not. Another law is the cell phone law. Between texting and distractions that come from being on the phone, just don’t do it. It can wait. Also, understanding the laws of the road when it comes to who has the right away, when it is safe to turn, when you need to come to a complete stop, driving around construction, etc. will certainly help you be a much better driver.
Properly maintain your vehicle. Vehicle malfunction is another major cause of auto accidents which can lead to your own injury (or death), or the injury (or death) of other passengers or other drivers. Be sure to properly maintain your car’s engine, brakes, tires and other safety mechanisms, including seatbelts, locks, airbags, mirrors and steering wheel.
Secure young children in car seats. If you have any young children riding along with you, make sure that you have them properly secured in a car seat. Ideally, the safest part of a vehicle is the closest to the center, so whenever possible, place children toward the center of the vehicle. Never place a child in a car seat in the front seat, particularly with an airbag feature.
Keep arms inside the vehicle. Another injury prevention tip is to keep your arms inside your vehicle. A lot of people enjoy driving with the window rolled down and their arms dangling to the side of the car. As comfortable and “free” feeling as this may be, it makes you susceptible to unnecessary injury during an auto accident, which could result in the loss and function of your arm and hand. Simply avoid this injury by keeping all limbs safely inside.
Adjust your seat and headrest. Make sure that your seat is adjusted so that you are safely in your seat. If you’re driving, you should be close enough to operate the vehicle, but you should not be so close that if the airbag were to go off during an accident it would cause you greater injury than injury prevention. Some people like to sit really close to the steering wheel or dashboard, which is not a very wise idea given how rapidly airbags deploy during an accident.
Eliminate (or reduce) your distractions. Easier said than said in today’s day and age of electronic gadgets and a constant need to be connected via telephone, internet, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other forms of social media. However, the operation of a vehicle should never be viewed lightly and should be handled with a great degree of care, time and attention. Put any electronic gadgets out of reach, keep the radio at a reasonable volume so that you can hear emergency vehicles and other warnings on the road, take time to eat food after you’ve arrived at your destination, apply makeup at home before you leave (or when you arrive at your destination) and keep as much of your view out of your windows free from obstruction. The more you can eliminate and reduce your distractions, the more prepared you will be to prevent or avoid an auto accident from happening in the first place, even if you wouldn’t be the party at fault for the accident.
Clean your car. An often overlooked cause of injury during an auto accident is small objects throughout your car that are not securely stored and are free to move. These small objects can become airborne during impact and with the force of the accident, become deathly projectiles toward you (or your passengers). Secure loose objects inside drawers or compartments inside your vehicle or place these items inside the trunk. The more clutter you can remove from your car, the better.
Avoid driving late at night. There are a number of reasons why night driving is not a good idea and why there is a driving curfew for new drivers. It’s because nighttime driving can be even more dangerous. Drivers may be intoxicated or tired. Drivers may have a hard time seeing or their ability to see the road or dangers in the road is much harder. If you can avoid driving late at night, it’s a smart idea to avoid potentially fatal auto accidents.
Stay in your vehicle. Last, but not least, another major cause of injury (and even death) is when drivers and passengers exit the vehicle following an auto accident. Depending on circumstances, other drivers may not see you or the accident and it may not be safe to exit your vehicle. Staying in your vehicle whenever possible is a great way to avoid becoming a victim of other injuries resulting in being on the side of a dangerous highway with fast-moving vehicles driving by.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an auto accident that resulted in injury or death, contact Stephen Csengeri of Csengeri Law. Mr. Csengeri has represented a number of clients on several personal injury cases. Contact Mr. Csengeri today at (310) 373-9330 to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
This post is brought to you the good folks at Csengeri Law, servicing the personal injury needs of those throughout the greater Los Angeles and South Bay areas for over 25 years. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or death, call Stephen Csengeri of Csengeri Law at (310)373-9330 or through our website to set up a free meeting to discuss your case and explore your rights. We’d love to connect with you on Facebook!