Millions of drivers hit the streets every day on their way to work. No one leaves their home and decides to cause an accident. Unfortunately, Georgia Highway Safety reports that over 100,000 people were injured in Georgia last year with over 1,000 of those injuries resulting in death. (www.gahighwaysafety.org) If you live in the Atlanta Metro area and work in Atlanta, you are well aware of the impact that accidents have on both those affected and those who are stuck in traffic due to the accident.
Long commutes are a breeding ground for accidents. According to a study by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings Atlanta tops the country in longest typical commute at 12.8 miles. Wow! In Atlanta metro many workers wake up before the sun rises anticipating a one hour commute or longer. To save time they eat in the car, shave, put on makeup, answer emails and I even saw someone watching a TV show on their cell phone in bumper to bumper traffic. With so much distraction, it can be easy to fall victim of an unintentional accident. We can’t avoid driving. So what can we do?
Here are three things you can do to avoid accidents on the road.
1. Be vigilant of all of your surroundings. When you are distracted, you not only put the safety of others in jeopardy, you put your own safety in jeopardy. Eating, shaving or looking at a text message even for one second may make you react much slower to the car that is abruptly stopping in front of you or even a tire that just came off of an 18 wheeler. The other day I was driving north on I-85 when an 18 wheeler had a tire explode. I saw the hot piece of rubber barreling right at my car. I could not avoid it. However, I saw it happen and did not react in an overly aggressive manner. It crushed my bumper but other than that, I was fine.
2. Leave early. I know this one can be hard especially if you live in a metro area where you will have a one hour commute time. But you have been there before where you are running late to a meeting. It feels like you are catching every light, the roads seem busier, and every driver decides they want to cut you off. The stress mounts and the next thing you know you are going 80 mph in a 55 mph zone. This is a recipe for an accident. Leave 5-10 minutes earlier. When my wife was working for the FBI as a summer intern she would tell me that leaving just 10 minutes earlier got her to work at 7:30 a.m.. But if she left 10 minutes later, she would get to work at 8:10 a.m. It’s amazing how that works.
3. Preplan the night before. When I was training for my half marathon I had placed myself on a strict diet that required meals to be planned for the entire day. If I waited until the morning it would take 15 minutes of my morning just to pack my meals. I found it much more convenient to pack my meals at night. That way I had plenty of time to eat breakfast and be on my way to work. Maybe you need to have your coffee pot set on automatic, or shave at night before bed. Maybe you need to have your clothes picked out before you wake up the next morning. Whatever it is, preplan your next day the night before. This will get you on the road just in time to avoid conflicts.
Even with these tips, you can’t avoid all accidents. With so many cars, there is bound to be someone who is running late or worse yet, running on high blood alcohol level. Whatever the case may be, if you are injured in a car accident, call an experienced attorney right away and make sure you have the information you need to navigate the legal process.