Every journey on the highways of America comes with a risk of a devastating motor vehicle accident, whether the trip is a vacation to visit family or transporting goods from one major city to another. Interstates and highways provide quick and streamlined passage across the country, but diligence must be observed when traveling on them to avoid disastrous accidents.
High speeds greatly increase the risk of serious injuries or fatalities in the case of an accident. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites that in 2012 30% of fatal traffic incidents involved at least one party that was traveling above the speed limit, but even traveling at the speed limits on highways renders each collision more likely to yield severe consequences. As speeds increase, drivers’ time to react to situations decreases, and the force behind each impact grows.
A wide number of other negligent actions can endanger everyone on the road. If drivers are rushed to reach their destination and operate their vehicle by recklessly swerving between lanes, trying to multitask, or simply not stopping to rest often enough, their actions could spell a fatal accident for the occupants of their own vehicle or another’s.
Causes of interstate accidents can include:
- Changing lanes into another vehicle
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while fatigued or overworked
- Failing to yield
- Failing to observe traffic signs and lights
- Vehicle malfunction
- Driving aggressively or recklessly
- Operating a dangerous vehicle with inadequate training
- Driving while distracted by music, cellphone, or passengers
- Dangerously attempt to pass
As the pipelines between major urban hubs, interstates are frequent hosts to large diesel trucks that transport countless goods. These massive vehicles are necessary to sustain our society’s structure, but they pose a serious risk to drivers if due diligence is not observed. According to the NHTSA, 12% of fatal accidents in 2012 involved a large truck (over 10,000 pounds). Of these fatalities, 73% were the occupants of other vehicles, displaying the devastation that a diesel truck can wreck on smaller vehicles. With thousands of pounds of force behind them, large trucks can easily crush smaller vehicles. Combine this destructive force with truck drivers who are frequently urged to drive long hours, sometimes on little sleep, and the recipe for disastrous accidents is clear. Although regulations have been enacted to control how much a driver must rest during certain time periods, how heavy loads can be, and a range of other guidelines, a collision with a massive truck still carries a high possibility of severe damage.
Especially during warmer months, motorcycles join the mass of vehicles on interstates across the country, as operators and passengers enjoy the open air. These vehicles are known for presenting a high risk to those on board, and with good reason. Motorcycles alone accounted for 15% of traffic fatalities in 2012, despite only accounting for about 3% of registered vehicles in the U.S. With very limited protection against an impact with another vehicle, motorcyclists face an increased risk of severe injuries if they are struck, especially when travelling at high speeds, and the NHTSA cites that they are 35 more times more likely than an occupant of a passenger car to die in a traffic crash. They are also more difficult for other drivers to see, requiring greater caution when driving. Head injuries are the most common trauma to motorcyclists involved in a collision, and although helmets are required, they do not always protect the skull from the damage of an impact.
The damages resulting from a wreck on the interstate can vary widely, from a minor fender bender as traffic slowly moves through a construction site to a high-speed rollover collision. If severe injuries occur, victims and their families could be shouldering extensive medicals bills. In addition to the widely recognized staggering costs of hospital visits and medical care, some injuries may require long-term treatment, such as specialized equipment or physical therapy. Even a seemingly minor accident could prevent a victim from earning an income and present overwhelming costs. If the interstate accident was caused by the negligent actions of another driver, however, those injured may be able to recover these costs.
Factors such as multiple vehicles’ involvement in the accident, an insurance policy held in another state, or the need to have your vehicle towed in a city far from where you live can complicate the aftermath of an accident on the interstate. Even in a relatively straightforward situation, dealing with insurance companies can quickly become complex. Attorneys who are experienced in the nuances of these situations can be an invaluable asset when seeking compensation after an accident.
If you’ve been involved in a collision on the interstates of Texas or New Mexico, the attorneys of Liggett Law Group can help you. We’ve helped thousands of individuals who have been hurt in a wide variety of car wrecks, and we can provide you with guidance during this difficult situation.