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Florida Vehicle Collision Blog

Fatal car accidents once again on the rise

Recent statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration do not paint a positive picture for Florida drivers. The NHTSA report indicates that more than 37,000 people were killed in road traffic accidents across the United States in 2016. This represents a 5.6 percent year-on-year increase, and it is the highest number of fatal crashes on record since 2007.

The report gives cause for concern at a time when the use of public transportation is on the rise while technologies to promote driver safety are increasingly being incorporated into new vehicles. In the years between 2007 and 2014, automotive safety engineers, actuaries and insurance company executives were pleased to see fatal crashes reduced all the way down to 32,744 per year; unfortunately, that trend seems to be in a worrisome reversal.

Older cars riskier for drivers than newer models

Florida motorists may be concerned to learn that they have a greater chance of dying in a car accident if they drive an older vehicle, according to a 2013 study. Further, the study found that the older the vehicle is, the more likely its driver is to be killed in an accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that people who drive vehicles that are at least 18 years old are 71 percent more likely to be killed in a serious car accident than people who drive vehicles that are no more than three years old. People who drive cars that are 8 to 11 years old are 19 percent more likely to die in a crash, and those who drive cars 4 to 7 years old are 10 percent more likely to die.

Car size is a factor in injury and crash severity

Florida motorists who drive smaller cars likely enjoy the fuel economy that they offer. Unfortunately, small cars fare much worse when they are involved in collisions than do larger vehicles. People who are in the market for a new vehicle might want to take these risks into consideration before they make purchasing decisions.

When small vehicles have front-end collisions, they have less on the front of their vehicles than larger vehicles do. Having smaller fronts means that less is available to absorb the physical forces of the crashes. The car occupants are thus likelier to absorb the forces themselves.

Drivers' actions contradict beliefs regarding distracted driving

Distracted driving is just one of the dangerous behaviors that can result in fatal traffic accidents. According to a study conducted by Progressive Insurance, almost one third of drivers are comfortable with texting and driving, even though most consider distracted driving to be the main cause of motor vehicle accidents. Over 90 percent of the people who participated in the study believe that distracted driving should be against the law.

The study was implemented online in August 2017 and targeted insured drivers who were not customers of Progressive. Around 1,000 drivers at or over the age of 18 responded to the study. Age seems to have a bearing on one's attitude regarding texting and driving. Over 60 percent of drivers from 18 to 34 years old are assured of their ability to text safely while behind the wheel. This is in comparison to the 6 percent of drivers who are 55 years or older and who share the same confidence.

How to deal with a brain injury from a bicycling accident

As someone who cycles frequently, you want to always get back on your bike. Bicycling is an effective way to exercise and get from point A to point B efficiently. While you might not crash or get into an accident often, it is always a possibility for which you should be ready. You should also be ready to deal with particular injuries. 

A brain injury is common to sustain after a bicycle accident. From mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries, here is what you should do if you hit your head in a bike accident.

Driving close to home can still be dangerous

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics indicate that Florida leads the way for deadly motor vehicle accidents in the southeastern part of the U.S. According to one car insurance company, the majority of all fatal crashes take place close to home. In light of this information, local residents who often find themselves behind the wheel within 25 miles of their residences may want to take extra care as they ride through familiar neighborhoods.

The data suggests that driving a motor vehicle in a well-familiar area creates a comfort zone, which may enable drivers to operate on autopilot, or muscle memory, instead of relying on defensive driving skills. In short, the hyper-vigilance that a driver might demonstrate on a long car ride may not always be present during a short hop to or from the home.

Using headlights during the day could prevent car crashes

While most Florida motorists drive with their headlights off during the day, they may be interested to know that studies have shown that the number of car accidents are reduced when drivers always keep their headlights on. Some manufacturers are now installing daytime running lights on new cars. However, there is a debate over whether the responsibility of permanent headlight usage should fall to drivers or to car manufacturers.

Although headlights are most effective at night or in poor light, using headlights during the day makes the vehicle more visible to other motorists. Although the reduction rate is different between studies, some showed that use of headlamps during the day reduced the number of multi-vehicle car accidents by approximately 6 percent. Studies also showed that the use of headlights during the day reduced the number of pedestrian accidents by about 12 percent and the number of motorcycle accidents by about 23 percent.

Tire spike ornaments on big rigs considered safety hazard

Florida truck drivers who choose to adorn their lug nut covers with spikes made of plastic or metal could be increasing the chance of accidents. Other motorists and pedestrians find them intimidating. One victim of a tractor-trailer wreck specifically mentioned the spikes on the front wheel hubs in a 2012 lawsuit. People increasingly view the spikes as a potential threat because they can distract other motorists.

Spikes extending beyond the profile of the truck especially increase the chance of making contact with pedestrians or bicyclists. Among fatal accidents with large trucks that involved one of those two categories of decedents, close to 50 percent of pedestrians and 25 percent of bicyclists came in contact with the sides of the trucks.

Serious brain trauma is not always obvious after car accidents

One of the most serious kinds of injuries you are at risk of receiving in a car crash is brain trauma.  Because the brain can be harmed in many ways in an accident, you may not know you have such an injury right away. 

Brain injuries range from mild concussions to hematomas and severe damage. They can disrupt normal cerebral function temporarily or permanently. However, you may not experience or recognize that you are experiencing the common symptoms of brain injuries from a car accident until several hours or days later. 

The slow adoption of collision avoidance systems

While many new cars sold in Florida are equipped with collision avoidance systems, the overall adoption of this technology has been slow. This means that despite the proven effectiveness of these technologies, not as many vehicles have them as safety experts would like.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, collision detection systems account for a significant decrease in serious accidents. This is primarily because they warn drivers of dangerous situations and give them time to react accordingly to prevent a collision. The key systems examined in the recent IIHS study were lane-departure systems and blind-spot monitoring. These safety systems decreased side-swipes and head-on collisions by 11 percent. The IIHS stated that if all vehicles had these technologies in 2015, 55,000 injuries would have been prevented.

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