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As a city that serves as a headquarter for so many banking and financial companies, there are many drivers navigating Wilmington’s roadways. There are also well over 125,000 residents in Wilmington, and there is a lot of traffic on any given day.
With traffic comes car accidents. Since car accidents are common in Wilmington and throughout the United States, drivers should become familiar with causes of collisions, what to do should one occur, and important laws in place. Listed below are common causes of car accidents.
While there have been concerted efforts made via government outreach campaigns that discourage drinking and driving, it still happens. Almost one-third of Delaware’s fatal motor vehicle crashes involve a person driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance.
In Delaware, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08 blood alcohol is considered legally intoxicated, meaning that it is unsafe for that person to drive a car or operate machinery. The general rule of thumb for how much alcohol it takes for a person to get to this BAC level is three drinks an hour for a woman and four drinks an hour for a man. However, these are general rules, and it really depends on the weight of the person who has been drinking and several other factors.
Most people do not get enough sleep. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people between 18 and 60 years old need at least seven hours of sleep each night. The CDC reports that more than one-third of American adults are not getting enough sleep.
Drowsy driving is a side effect of fatigue. Drowsy driving is very similar to drunk driving, as both cause a delayed reaction time. People who are overtired tend to microsleep behind the wheel as well. Microsleep is when someone experiences episodes of sleep that typically lasts less than 30 seconds. Shutting your eyes while driving can easily lead to a serious accident.
Distracted driving is one of the most discussed reasons for car accidents throughout the United States. Some of the most egregious distracted driving behaviors involve cellphones, not just texting and driving, but people losing their focus on the road when they are engaged in a phone call.
Hands-free technology, such as Bluetooth, which allows phones in vehicles to be used hands-free for conversations, texting, and even sending emails, is designed to keep drivers focused on the road. Hands-free technology does reduce drivers taking their hands off the steering wheel. However, paying attention to the road is a must for the driver, and a hands-free phone call may still cause their mind to wander.
Some other common causes of distracted driving accidents include:
These distracted driving behaviors may not involve a cellphone, but they still take attention away from the road.
While road safety experts agree that the majority of car accidents are caused by driver error, the weather and road conditions can create problems that will lead to crashes as well. Residents of Delaware know that the state is prone to all kinds of extreme weather, which can lead to hazardous road conditions. It is important to note that even though a driver cannot control the weather, they can control their own actions. All motorists must adapt to the road conditions and drive safely.
Precipitation can impact tire traction, causing the driver to lose control of the car, much like a person can slip on a wet floor. When there is enough water on the road and the car is moving fast enough, that needed tire traction can be compromised enough that the vehicle hydroplanes. Hydroplaning can lead to a car going off the road or veer into another lane of traffic.
Inclement weather can create problems for traffic signals and signs. For example, if a community loses electricity, the traffic signals might not work properly, and that means drivers must rely on the good behavior of other motorists to figure out how to get through an intersection.
Speeding is a problem throughout the United States. When a car accident happens at high speeds, the injuries and property damage are more severe. All drivers should follow the speed limit. When road conditions are poor, motorists should adjust their speed accordingly.
Besides injuries and property damage, drivers who speed face traffic violations. A speeding ticket could increase your insurance rate between 22 to 30 percent.
When you are involved in a collision, there are a few steps you should take:
Drivers in Delaware are required to have no-fault auto insurance. Those involved in an accident can turn to their own insurance to cover the medical bills that resulted from the accident. However, drivers in Delaware are not prohibited from suing the at-fault driver.
Delaware is a modified comparative negligence state, and that means fault can be shared by the drivers. Compensation for injuries and property damage can also be shared, minus the driver’s percentage of fault. For example, a driver who is found to be 25 percent at fault for a crash can recover 75 percent of the total damages. If a driver is found to be 50 percent or more at fault, that driver cannot collect any damages.
It is important to note that there is a time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit, also known as the statute of limitations. For this reason, it is critical to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after a severe collision.
A car accident can change your life, but a lawyer can help. If you were involved in a collision in Delaware, speak with our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow to discuss your case. Call us at 302-427-9500, 302-834-8484, or 302-422-6705 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.