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Avoiding Fatal Road Accidents in Maine

country-road-322990-m.jpgThe most common way to die is not through recreational risk like scuba diving or skydiving. As you may know, driving your car everyday on American roads is the activity that presents the greatest risk of getting killed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that car or other vehicle accidents are the leading cause of the death in the U.S. for people between ages four and 27. You can reduce these risks by being aware of dangerous times and places to drive.

In the event that a loved one is killed in a traffic accident, you may be able to bring a claim for wrongful death. Someone suing for the wrongful death of a family member may be able to recover damages for medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of earnings potential, loss of inheritance, loss of care and protection, pain and suffering and possibly punitive damages, depending on whether the conduct that caused the accident was egregious.

The Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan identifies six deadly factors that drivers should avoid to avoid a fatal traffic accident. These six are: distracted drivers, drunk drivers, aggressive drivers, road construction, failing to use seatbelts and walking.

Distracted drivers are dangerous because they clearly aren’t paying attention to the road. These are drivers who have kids in the car they are dealing with or putting makeup on, or texting. If you see a distracted driver, it’s important to move away from the car. You may think at first these are harmless, but an estimated 3,328 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 people in America were hurt due to distracted driving collisions in 2012.

The next category can be a little harder to avoid. You should never get into a car with a drunk driver and you should be aware of traffic in downtown areas with a significant bar scene. If you see a car weaving on the highway at night, you should hold back and keep your distance. In 2012, drunk drivers killed 10,322 victims —one every 51 minutes.

Aggressive drivers are those that speed, tailgate, fail to yield right of way, pass improperly and fail to obey traffic signals. If you encounter an aggressive driver, you may be tempted to react or act aggressively in turn. NHTSA recommends that instead you simply get out of this driver’s way, put your pride aside, avoid eye contact, ignore gestures and report serious aggressive driving.

In spite of significant campaigns to encourage people to wear seatbelts, failing to wear seatbelts remains a major cause of death. More than half of those passengers killed in car crashes were not wearing a seat belt. At night this figure rises to two-thirds. Seatbelts saved 13,250 lives between 2004 and 2008.

Road construction is another situation to avoid. Highway construction is especially dangerous because of the high speeds. Where the lanes are narrow and there is heavy congestion or changing speed limits, it is more difficult to predict what other drivers will do. Most of the 87,606 crashes in work zones in 2010 did not result in deaths. Only 0.6% were fatal collisions. Irrespective of the statistical risk, driving safely through road construction or avoiding it is an important way to prevent fatal accidents.

Walking in small towns in Maine is wonderful. But you should be aware that pedestrians are vulnerable. If you are walking at night, especially if you are walking while drinking, you are particularly vulnerable to drivers that may not be expecting pedestrians. One of the few groups of people who use the road that experienced increased fatalities were pedestrians. 4,432 pedestrians died on the road in 2011.

If a loved one is killed on the road, you may want to bring a wrongful death suit to recover medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve. At Briggs & Wholey, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced advocate, please contact Briggs & Wholey, LLC at (888) 596-1099 or through our website today.

More Blog Posts:

Child Safety in Maine: Graco Recall of Car Seats, Maine Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, March 18, 2014
Attitudes about Speeding in Maine and Elsewhere, Maine Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, March 11, 2014

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