Fatal Crashes Up 12% in Missouri
Posted on April 5th, 2021 by Zane Cagle
Missouri’s Fatal Crash Rate Has Increased by Twelve (12) Percent
In 2020, we saw a 12% increase in Missouri road fatalities. I implore all drivers that we cannot continue on this course without a lot of loss, pain and suffering. Each day, I work with families that have suffered great losses whether it is due to serious injuries or wrongful death from a motor vehicle crash. Each and every one of us can and must contribute to reduce this high number of fatalities as our roadways are becoming too dangerous. I do not want to overthink and evaluate my odds of being in a car crash every time I leave my house. Naturally, I am super aware of conditions for car crashes as my job of representing those people who are injured in motor vehicle crashes. Thus, the frequency and severity of car crashes is kind of my thing.
Like everyone else, I have to feel that I have some control over my destiny or I simply would not climb behind the wheel knowing the dangers. HOWEVER, there are simply too many of us that are driving distracted, impaired or simply not paying any attention.
WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.
We can all do better by focusing on one commute at a time to avoid motor vehicle collisions. The number one cause of motor vehicle crashes is inattentiveness. Inattentiveness is anything that you might be doing that takes your focus off of the roadway. Whether that involves eating your lunch or dinner while driving, taking calls or visiting with passengers; we have to focus. No one is saying you cannot have a non-alcoholic beverage in your car or you cannot take a call. When your “other activities” involve taking your attention off the road, then you should not be doing those activities. If that call is so important, consider pulling over. Maybe while driving, you should not try to eat spaghetti and meatballs unless you plan or possibly wearing it down the front of your shirt. If you are driving with your morning coffee, put a lid on it so you don’t swerve around when it spills. If a passenger requires you to give them eye contact while talking and driving, maybe you should ask them whether they want to get there safely or divert to the ER? It is not complicated.
Put Down the Phone
I know, it is difficult. Anymore if we don’t have our phone handy, we feel like we have forgotten something. We are so accustomed to immediate responses. We have become painfully aware of how dangerous is is to engage in distracted driving and most of us have experienced it first hand. And, PLEASE stop with the driving selfies and texting while driving! If you are driving a really great car, pull over and take the photo properly. Please do not broadcast the fact that you are not paying attention to the road by taking a selfie and then posting it to social media. No one really wants to have to acknowledge that you acting that dim.
If you are using your phone for directions, then you do not actually have to look at it as the directions are audio. Even the GPS in our vehicles will not let you put in an address while you are driving because the car manufacturers know that it is NOT SAFE to be doing anything while you are driving besides focusing on the road and Driving!
Follow the Rules of the Roadway
Again, these rules are not tricky. Red lights mean stop, and green means you can go. Red lights do not mean that you should gun it through the intersection which often leads to intersection accidents. Failing to follow signals and road signs results in crashes. Do people sometimes make mistakes when it comes to road signs? Yes, often car crashes happen around road signs and signals, yet, drivers often say they didn’t see them–which could clearly state the problem. Was the sign hidden or were they not paying attention? I investigate 100’s of car crashes a year. On rare occasions, a road sign will be misplaced. Again, those are very rare occasions. When that occurs, people often do get hurt and that is a separate matter. Those situations are really far and few between. By and large, the most common reasons drivers fail to follow signs are impatience and inattentiveness. Intersection crashes often occur when a driver is trying to beat a light and/or make an improper left-hand turn.
Failure to Yield Causes Crashes
Left-Hand Turns on Solid Green Light– I’ve seen this play out time and time again. Someone makes a left on a green light thinking they have the right-of-way when in reality, they do not. If you have a solid green light, you must yield to oncoming traffic. In people’s minds, they see ‘green’ and think that means “go”. Generally it does unless you are making a turn. Usually intersections will have a solid-green arrow when you do not have to yield to oncoming traffic. It usually then shifts to a solid green where you do not have the right of way.
Failure to Yield at Two or Four-Way Stop
You might not remember the exact rules of drivers’ education that says if all four vehicles arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, who has the right of way? According to the rules of the roadway, if two cars arrive at the four-way stop, and are located side by side, the vehicle furthest to the right has the right of way. If three cars arrive at the same time, the car furthest left should continue to yield until both of the other cars to the right of them have passed. If you are unsure, simply pause. Using a signal is a great idea as well–it is the originally messaging system for vehicles in traffic.
Failing to Yield While Merging
If you are a frequent greater St. Louis commuter, you may have come to take merging onto the interstate fairly personally. We have all been in Interstate 64/40 and watched as some person fly by us only to merge into our lane quickly and cut us off. Something about those experiences make you want to defy anyone who tries to merge. I get it. We have all experienced those donkeys that cross two lanes of traffic because they have missed their exit thus forcing an inappropriate merge. The very phrase “inappropriate merge” sounds bad and usually irritates other drivers. There is a correct way to merge onto an interstate/highway and there is an incorrect way to do so. When drivers fail to merge the correct way, catastrophic crashes can result. As the merger onto an interstate, you have to identify the gap between cars on the freeway /interstate in which you are merging, then you must increase your speed to adjust to traffic, and put on your signal in advance.
We have to remember, the interstate is not a contest even if you think of it that way every day on your way to work. If you treat the interstate like a contest and race, few good things will come of that. Thinking of the highway system as any kind of race or contest will most likely result in crash which typically really turns your day upside down.
Drive Everywhere as if Your Child is in the Car
I don’t know a single person who is not extra safety conscious when they are driving with their kids in the car. Naturally, you take other’s driving slights quite a bit more personally when your most important people are buckled up in the back seat. At the same time, I would like to think that most people are less aggressive drivers when their children are in the car. Really, shouldn’t we always be driving in the same safe manner that we would drive with our children in the vehicle? We are statistically more careful and less aggressive when carrying our precious cargo. Likewise, people in general are less likely to drive impaired if they have children in the car (we all should hope). In life, we generally act better as people when we have our children with us whether that is in traffic or the grocery store.
Thus, a good rule of thumb is to always drive as if you have your children in the back seat. You will drive more responsibly, safer and considerately if you adopt that mindset. If we all drove as if our children were in the car, there would be less speedy, less tailgating and fewer improper lane changes. When we have fewer bad driving behaviors, we have fewer crashes.
Car Crashes Happen
While car collisions do happen, they have “causes”. Rarely are there such things as pure “accidents”. While car crashes and car accidents are used interchangeably, both have causes no matter what you call the collision. The causes can vary from a driver making an error to several drivers making errors. If you are injured in a car crash, you will need legal assistance. We assist those injured in motor vehicle incidents/accidents daily. We know that recovering from a car accident can be traumatic and it is certainly frustrating and stressful to navigate the insurance process. Because we know it can be difficult while you are also trying to recover, we are here. In fact, there is not a lot of special training in understanding how auto insurance works other than adjusters simply take attorneys more seriously than individuals without legal representation.
A car accident attorney know that your rights and interests have to be protected while you focus on getting the medical treatment that you need.
Call our attorneys seven days a week at 314.276.1681 or toll free 1.800.685.3302