The road is a dangerous place. There is a reason that tens of thousands of people die annually on America’s highways. It’s a staggering total loss of life, even worse than most people realize. And yet it continues to happen because people continue to engage in dangerous driving habits.
It’s easy to understand some of the most risky — if common — behaviors. You know that driving under the influence puts you at risk. You know that recklessly breaking the speed limit makes you more likely to lose control of your car. But what about some of the other issues that aren’t as obvious?
The truth is that people often overlook some seriously dangerous habits behind the wheel, and they too can cause accidents. Examples include:
- Taking prescription medication and then driving. Many prescriptions meds actually influence your ability to drive the same way that alcohol does. They can slow down response times and lead to irrational behaviors. They can also make you fatigued and less attentive. If your medication says not to drive after you take it, that’s a serious warning. You still suffer from impairment even if you have not been drinking.
- Not driving fast enough. We often talk about speeding as if it’s the only danger, but the reality is that a difference in the speed of two vehicles is often what leads to an accident. Someone who is going 20 miles per hour in a 55-MPH zone may be just as dangerous as someone who is breaking that limit. Cars are safest when they all travel at the same speed.
- Driving too close, or tailgating. This doesn’t always mean aggressive and intentional tailgating. Many drivers just don’t leave a big enough gap without realizing it. As long as traffic moves smoothly, they don’t crash. If one car has to tap the brakes, though, suddenly it’s a risk to all of those drivers behind them who suddenly realize just how close they are.
- Not understanding less common traffic controls. We all know that you need to stop at a stop sign, but what about a yield sign? Do you stop completely? What do you do at a round-about, and who has the right of way? If it’s a flashing red light, how is that different than a flashing yellow or a solid red? When drivers come to less common controls, they often don’t know how to proceed safely, but they have to make a quick decision and hope they’re right.
All of these issues can lead to a car accident. If you suffer serious injuries, it’s time to look into all of the legal rights you have in Illinois and how you may be able to seek financial compensation.