While the workday looks different for many due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, commuting is still a daily task for many workers. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that nearly 130 million people drive to work every day in the United States. Between imposing tractor trailers and distracted drivers looking down at their phones, commuting can be stressful. If a car accident occurs, costs for medical bills and auto repairs can add up quickly; however, drivers can safely prepare for their commute in a few ways. Below are some strategies to avoid commuter car accidents.
Driving to and from work several days a week is inevitable for many employees, but what motorists may not realize is just how dangerous commuting can be. Information collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) illustrates the risks associated with daily commuting. The following are some of the more notable findings from this data:
- One in four car accidents in a single year occurred during morning or evening drive times.
- The hour between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. is the most dangerous time of the day to drive.
- Friday is the most dangerous day of the week for drivers. Commuters may rush or take other risks while in a hurry to get home.
Most experienced drivers know the feeling of running late and being stuck behind a slow driver or stalled in heavy traffic. Some commuters take unnecessary risks to clock in on time, such as speeding or running red lights. To reduce the risk of a car accident, commuters should try to leave earlier than usual.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving claims eight lives each day. Many distracted driving crashes happen because a motorist is focused on their mobile phone instead of driving. Commuters multitask in many other ways to save time. Common driver distractions include:
- Putting on makeup
- Doing one’s hair
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio
- Cellphone use
Distracted driving is a threat to pedestrians who walk and bike to work as well. When the morning commute coincides with school bus pick-up times, distracted drivers may not see a stopped bus or children crossing the street in time. Every driver must commit to paying attention and resist the urge to do anything that takes their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
Avoid Aggressive Drivers
A hectic commute can lead to aggressive driving. An encounter with an aggressive driver can be dangerous. Signs of an aggressive driver include:
- Running red lights
- Swerving in and out of traffic
- Dangerous passing
- Not allowing others to merge
- Abruptly hitting the brakes
- Continually beeping the horn
- Flashing high beam lights
It is impossible to predict the behavior of an aggressive driver. When encountering one, it is important to keep calm, choose restraint, and avoid engaging with the reckless driver. A motorist should not beep their horn or engage in aggressive behaviors as retaliation as well. If the motorist is especially irate, pull over when it is safe to do so. If they seem to be a threat to other travelers, report them to the police from a safe location while the vehicle is parked.
An ordinary commute can become hectic if there is a car accident, hazardous weather conditions, or road repairs. Before leaving home, motorists should set the navigational system in the car or on the phone to alert for any road hazards or delays along the way to work. This technology is an invaluable tool to direct and reroute commuters along the safest and fastest route. Motorists should make sure to set the navigational device to relay directions and updates verbally to avoid distracted driving.
Countless businesses have opted to let their staff work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the change was necessary to keep employees safe and healthy, many workers and employers have learned that remote work is ideal. However, remote work is not feasible for every occupation. If it is a possibility, an employee should ask management about working from home, even if it is a few days a week. Workers who need to report in person can ask about changing their schedule to avoid commuting at the most congested times of day. Pushing the workday back even 45 minutes can make a significant difference and reduce the chance of a commuter car accident.
Filing a Car Accident Claim in Pennsylvania
Despite all of the safety tips to avoid a motor vehicle accident during the morning or evening commute, there are no assurances that other drivers will take the same precautions. If an accident occurs, drivers should remain calm, stay safe, get help, and preserve any evidence that may impact a possible claim.
In no-fault states, drivers have limited options to sue for damages incurred after an accident. Compensation for medical bills and other economic losses would come from their own personal injury protection coverage. However, Pennsylvania is not like many no-fault states. Drivers who carry insurance in Pennsylvania have the option to choose full tort insurance. Full tort coverage offers more leeway to take legal action against an at-fault party. It costs more, but also has expanded options in terms of legal recourse.
Commuters who spend hours on the road each day should consider paying more up front. A devastating injury caused by a reckless driver can be a life-changing event. When a car accident happens, it can be challenging to bring a claim for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income, but a car accident lawyer can help. A lawyer will consider every legal angle possible to prove their case and recover the maximum compensation possible for their client.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Fight for Clients Injured During Their Daily Commute
Commuter car accidents occur for many reasons. It is important that drivers always be vigilant and focus on safety. If you were injured by a negligent driver during your commute, one of our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC can help. Call us at 215-569-8488 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.