According to a report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 391,167 car crashes in 2022. As a result of these accidents, there were 248,958 reported injuries. That’s a staggering number but not surprising given the reputation of Florida drivers. Injuries sustained in an auto accident commonly include fractures, back and neck injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Wondering what some of the common causes of car accidents in Florida are? In Florida, the most common causes of car accident injuries can be attributed to driver error or negligence such as speeding or distracted driving. Other reasons may occur due to bad weather conditions or road hazards like animals on the road. Regardless, it is essential for drivers to familiarize themselves with car accident causes in Florida so that they can take proactive measures to prevent such incidents whenever feasible.
Here are 10 Common Causes of Car Accidents in Florida
- Distracted Driving
According to a 2022 report, there were more than 56,000 distracted driving accidents in Florida in 2021, with 331 fatalities – the most recorded in Florida in over 8 years. Distracted driving is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, or your focus off of the task at hand. Distracted driving can result in drivers not seeing other vehicles, failing to notice stop signs and traffic signals, and drifting into other lanes of traffic. All of these situations can lead to serious injuries to other drivers.
- Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving poses a significant threat on American roads, with 72,000 crashes attributed to fatigued driving in 2013 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A driver who is drowsy is dangerous on the roadway because fatigue can impair the driver’s ability to make decisions, slow down the thought process and reaction time, and affect judgment and vision. This can lead to drivers veering into other lanes, rear-end collisions, and other serious accidents.
The risks are particularly heightened for certain groups, including commercial drivers operating trucks and buses, individuals engaged in night shifts or extended work hours, those with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, and individuals using drowsiness-inducing medications. Fatigued driving is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. Truck drivers are known to drive long hours on busy highways and are particularly prone to fatigue. In addition, many truck drivers work at night or may have an untreated sleep disorder.
Unfortunately, there is no standardized drowsiness test comparable to a blood alcohol test, leaving drivers reliant on personal judgment to recognize signs such as yawning, frequent blinking, struggling to stay awake, lapses in memory, drifting out of lanes, and missing turns. Awareness of these indicators is crucial, as pulling over promptly when signs of fatigue emerge becomes imperative to mitigate the risk of serious injury to oneself and others on the road.
Speed limits in Florida are put in place to help drivers get to their destinations safely. When drivers go above the speed limit, their chances of being involved in an accident are high. Speeding makes it more difficult to navigate turns and curves and can make it more difficult to react to hazards on the road. In addition, a high-speed car crash can lead to more severe injuries than a crash at normal speed.
- Bad Weather
Weather can reduce pavement friction, traction, visibility, and maneuverability on the road. Rain, high winds, fog, and flooding can all play a role in road conditions and driver safety. On average, the Federal Highway Administration reports 1.2 million crashes every year are related to weather. The majority of weather-related accidents occur on wet pavement (76%) and during rain (46%). Every year, about 7,000 people are killed in accidents involving weather hazards, but rain causes more fatalities than snow in 39 of 50 states.
- Failing to Obey Traffic Signals
Failing to come to a full stop at a stop sign or ignoring a traffic light can easily result in an intersection accident. Side-impact crashes are commonly the result of a failure to obey traffic signs and signals and can cause serious injuries to other drivers and passengers.
- Drunk Driving
In Florida, if a driver has a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher or is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that driver is considered a drunk driver. Drunk drivers have a severely impaired ability to react to changing situations on the road and frequently drive at high speeds. This can result in tragic accidents with traumatic injuries.
- Teen Drivers
Teenage drivers have a higher accident rate than adults with a risk of a crash that is higher among 16 to 19-year-olds than any other age group. As per the AAA Foundation Report, while distracted driving is frequently associated with mobile phone use, the primary cause of distracted driving among teenagers is actually due to distractions caused by other passengers, not phone use.
– Interacting with a passenger: 15% of accidents
– Using a cell phone: 12%
– Looking at something in the car: 10%
– Looking at something outside of the car: 9%
– Singing or dancing to music: 8%
– Grooming, such as putting on makeup: 6%
– Reaching for an item: 6%
- Night Driving
According to the National Safety Council, the risk of a fatal car accident is three times higher at night than during the day. There are many reasons for this. Reduced visibility can make it harder to see hazards at night, including pedestrians, animals, and potholes. Darkness can also compromise color recognition, depth perception, and peripheral vision. The glare of oncoming headlights can even be blinding. Visibility is limited to 250 feet with normal headlights and about 500 feet with high beams. This means less time to react to anything on the road.
Across the country, 49% of all fatal accidents happen at night. About two-thirds of people killed in accidents at night were not wearing seatbelts compared to less than half during the day. To prevent car accidents at night, ensure your vehicle is well-maintained with functioning lights, and clean windows to reduce glare. Always buckle up, as many nighttime fatalities involve unrestrained passengers. Avoid smoking while driving, as it can impair night vision. Use headlights in low light conditions and switch to low beams when necessary. Following these tips promotes safer night driving and reduces the risk of accidents.
- Running Red Lights
There are many ways for an accident to occur, but many occur at intersections. More people are hurt in accidents involving a driver running a red light than in any other type of accident. Drivers who run red lights caused over 900 deaths in 2020 and more than 116,000 injuries across the country. More than half of the people killed in these accidents are pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles — not the driver running the red light, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Researchers have found that the use of red light cameras that photograph and mail tickets to drivers who run red lights can reduce these accidents. These programs can reduce red-light running by around 40%.
- Animals on the Road
It may be surprising, but animal crossings cause thousands of accidents every year. Collisions with deer, elk, and moose are responsible for the greatest amount of deaths, injuries, and property damage. The chances of striking a large animal on the road are highest between October and December which is deer mating season.
According to State Farm’s latest research on animal/deer collisions, Florida drivers experienced a considerable rise in animal collision claims, with an estimated 30% increase. The study found that between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, there were approximately 50,800 claims for animal collisions in Florida, compared to the previous year’s estimate of approximately 38,800 (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020).
Consequences of Accidents in Florida
Each year, car accidents and crashes cause untold damage, injury, and heartache. The financial and economic distress that results has skyrocketed to an estimated annual cost of over $870 billion.
In Florida, The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (CDC) reports an annual cost of $3.02 billion spent on crash-related deaths, $2.99 billion due to loss of income and $32 million in medical costs in any given year with those figures climbing with crash statistics.
An auto injury insurance claims study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) reveals that the cost of medical bills due to injuries from car crashes are increasing faster than the rate of inflation in the United States. This is sobering news. The cost of medical care, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses are paid by insurance companies, the victims themselves out-of-pocket, third parties, and charities.
How much a car accident will cost varies from accident to accident. The elements involved in each individually unique case determine the cost. Some, but not all, of the factors involved include:
- The Severity of Injuries
- Loss of Income
- Amount of Property Damage
- Number of Passenger and Injuries
- Legal Costs
- Standard of Life Post-Accident
- Insurance Costs
One of the first steps anyone should do after a car accident that involves damage or injury is to contact an attorney who understands the law and is experienced in dealing with insurance companies and the serious complications that the nature of car accidents presents.
Courts can become overwhelmed with the number of cases they must handle due to car accidents each year. An experienced attorney nearby can ensure that all aspects of your case are considered and that your case is not rushed or prolonged without good cause.
Contact a Trusted Attorney Near You
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers near you at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.
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