Drive Smart Virginia 2020 Annual Report shows increasing accident rates

The Drive Smart Virginia 2020 Annual Report shows that 180 were injured in traffic accidents every day in the commonwealth in 2019. Additionally, 827 people died from these accidents in 2019 in Virginia.

One of the most troubling aspects of the report is that most of the accidents were preventable. Distracted driving was a contributing factor in 80 percent of the accidents in 2019.

Another factor that the Drive Smart report detailed was the issue of young drivers. A total of 65 people lost their lives in an auto accident involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 19.

A third category that the report draws attention to is the surprising number of car crashes that involved pedestrians or bicyclists. A total of 126 pedestrians and 13 bicyclists lost their lives due to motor vehicle accidents in Virginia in 2019.

But a total of 754 cyclists and 1,896 pedestrians were injured, a large increase from years previous, showing a sharp increase in these types of collisions.

With such troubling news about the number of traffic accidents due to recklessness and carelessness, how can Virginia drivers protect themselves while on the road? We have some tips to keep you safe.

Tips to stay safe on Virginia’s roads

You can’t control what other drivers do, but you can control the cars you allow to be near you on the roadway and your reaction to their poor driving tactics. Here are some practical ways you can prevent yourself from being involved in an auto accident.

  1. Stay focused on driving. Since distracted driving caused 80 percent of the preventable auto accidents in 2019, make sure you’re fully focused on the road when in the car. Avoid checking your phone, texting, eating, changing the radio station, reaching for objects and other distracting driving habits. This way, you’ll stay alert to react to changing road conditions and poor judgment choices from other drivers.
  2. Drive the speed limit. Speeding can lead you to being unable to react quickly to avoid an accident. Driving the speed limit can ensure you are prepared to handle the road’s unexpected turns and conditions.
  3. Stay away from erratic drivers. Sometimes you can look at a car and know that you don’t approve of the way they are driving. Give these cars tons of room on the road because you don’t want to be anywhere near them. Erratic or dangerous drivers can lead to car accidents.
  4. Avoid driving late at night when impaired drivers are likely on the roads. And of course, never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol as this greatly increases your risk of being involved in an accident. You could also face a criminal record if you’re caught driving under the influence.
  5. Set restrictions for your teenaged drivers. Since drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 contribute to the number of accidents on the road, parents with teen drivers need to set rules and limits to keep their children safe on the roads. Consider only allowing your child to drive to work and school and do little social driving until they have more experience behind the wheel. Don’t allow young drivers to go on long trips alone until they are more experienced.

Promoting safe driving in Virginia

You can only control your actions out on the road. But you can help promote the cause of safe driving in Virginia. Get involved in educating others about this important issue facing the commonwealth. Here are some ideas and ways you can get involved.

  1. Share this blog post on social media. People need to know that accidents are on the rise and that there are ways they can protect themselves. When you share this blog post, you bring awareness to the issue and pose practical solutions for how to get involved.
  2. Bring the topic up with friends and family. Let them know there are ways to protect themselves on the roads. And look out for friends and family when leaving a social gathering at your home. Don’t let them drive impaired and keep them from being on the roads late at night when there are impaired drivers.
  3. Talk to your teens about discussing the issue of teen driving with their peers. Encourage your children to be open and honest with their peers about why you don’t allow them to drive at night or to have many other young people in the car with them.
  4. Get a bumper sticker against distracted driving. This will serve as a constant reminder to other drivers that they should put their phones down and pay close attention to the road.

If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of being involved in a car accident, please call Gore & Kuperman. We offer a free consultation to help you learn the proper next steps following an accident to protect yourself. Schedule a consultation now to meet with one of our skilled attorneys.