Oakland is among the most accident-prone cities in the US. However, with due precaution, care, and knowledge of how to avoid car accidents, you are absolutely safe. Nevertheless, just in case you meet the unfortunate car accident, you don’t need to go anywhere. You must stop, and assist the injured person. Otherwise, you are liable to fines and imprisonment under the California law. Whether the accident is minor or serious, you must stop at the scene, help and assist those in need, call 9/11, and cooperate with the law enforcement and the police agencies on the scene. Nonetheless, while driving the car, your topmost priority should be how to avoid car accidents.
Oakland, the third-largest city in the San Francisco Bay area with a large number of car wrecks has a population of nearly 430,000. There were 27 car crash fatalities in the city in 2016 that was a drop from the 2014 figure of 31, but the same as in 2015. The high number of car crashes in Oakland, according to some experts, is largely due to such modern methods of distracted driving as texting or calling while driving. The other important factors are driving under the influence of alcohol, making unsafe turns, and speeding.
Cities with High Risk of Collisions
Oakland registers the maximum number of collisions in the country, an average of about 7 every day. The other cities are comparatively much safer with an average of about 2 or fewer collisions. In 2016, Oakland had 2,541 collisions. The other cities that followed including Fremont (823 collisions), Hayward (761 collisions), Berkeley (676 collisions), and Pleasanton (482 collisions) had a significantly lesser number of collisions in comparison to Oakland. No matter whether these figures are high or low, you can avoid accidents 100%, if you know how to avoid car accidents.
Although Oakland also has the maximum traffic fatalities, the cities with the maximum number of collisions are not necessarily the cities with the maximum number of fatalities. Berkeley, for instance, has had a large number of collisions over the last few years but comparatively fewer fatalities. Some of the cities with the most road fatalities in 2016 include Oakland (29 fatalities), Hayward (9 fatalities), San Leandro (8 fatalities), Fremont (7 fatalities), Pleasanton (3 fatalities). Oakland also has the distinction of the city with the most collision involving pedestrians. In 2016, there were 314 collisions involving pedestrians in Oakland. The cities that followed were Berkeley and Hayward with 123 and 56 collisions respectively.
Car Accidents in Oakland: Major Factors
Three top most car accident contributory factors – speeding, alcohol consumption, and hit and run collisions – in Oakland are also criminal offenses.
California Speed Law requires you to follow all posted speed limits. Some specific areas like school zones, parking lots, and construction areas have prima facie speed limits that must be strictly followed. Failure to do so could be charged under criminal negligence.
The speed plays a critical role in the severity of injuries. If the injured victim is inside the car, their likelihood of dying from the severe crash injuries is 20 times greater when the vehicle collision takes place at 50 MPH in comparison when the speed is only 20 MPH. A pedestrian hit by a speeding car at 25 MPH in Oakland has a 65% chance of surviving. However, the survival rate drops steeply to 10%, if the car is running at 40 MPH. According to a crash data source, the risk of an accident increases by 3% for each 0.6 MPH increase in the speed.
In Oakland, speed was a factor in 557 accidents in 2014. This is about 20% of all the accidents in Oakland. The higher is the speed, the lesser is the driver’s response time, and the greater is the vehicle’s stopping distance. The victim unavoidably suffers severe traumatic injuries as a result of speeding.
Drunk-driving, a persistent problem in the US causes 28 deaths each day across the nation. In Oakland, nearly 250 traffic crashes occur annually as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol can make an accident nearly inevitable with the impairment of a driver’s motor skills, reaction time, and the ability to judge. No matter the legal alcohol limit, the BAC of even 0.02 caused by a single drink in some cases, which is less than the legal limit, can affect the mood of a driver, their judgment, and the ability to perform more than one task simultaneously. This minimal BAC is known to increase the risk of a car crash 1.38 times in comparison to a sober driver. In 2014, there were 235 drunk-driving arrests in Oakland.
Hit and Run
Stats reveal that Oakland is currently among the cities with the top rates of hit and run crashes in California. Hit and run is a criminal offense. Over 15% or 462 of all the car crashes in 2014 in Oakland were hit and run accidents. These hit and run accidents involved pedestrians, motorcycles, bicycles, and cars
The victims of hit and run accidents face several problems. They may have to wait until as long as the police apprehend the suspect to seek compensation. However, you may not have to delay your recovery. The injuries and damages can be compensated with your insurance policy under California law which includes driver coverage except when you decline the option at the time you enroll. This coverage comes into operation when the at-fault party is not held responsible or when they have insufficient coverage to pay towards your medical expenses and other losses.
Under California law, all standard auto insurance policies must have uninsured or underinsured driver coverage unless you specifically decline those options when you enroll. That means that if you can’t hold the at-fault party responsible or they don’t have enough insurance coverage to pay the extent of your medical expenses and other costs associated with your accident, your insurance may pick up the difference. The insurance payout can involve a lot of paperwork. You need to determine liability, substantiate your injuries and costs, and show how your livelihood has been impacted. The support of your personal injury lawyer, however, can make things run smoothly.
You are not safe as long as there are negligent drivers on the road. The negligent drivers commonly make the following five mistakes.
Texting behind the wheel: This is a pretty common mistake that most drivers make, no matter which vehicle they are driving. There are laws against it but this modern temptation simply refuses to go away.
Speed Demons: You often encounter the impatient speed demons not just on highways but occasionally even in the inner city roads. They can change lanes swiftly without signaling. They act like the rules don’t exist for them.
Eating while driving: They are impatient and hungry. They can’t wait to reach their destination. Food is the topmost thing in their agenda. Oblivious of the law or the safety rules, they don’t mind driving with their knees so as to free up their hands to eat and drink whatever they have.
Oblivious while driving: These drivers are lost in their own thoughts. They do not bother to check their mirrors. They are unaware of their surroundings. They could be driving too slowly to cause inconvenience to the traffic, which could be as bad as speeding.
Scared drivers: These drivers appear unskilled to handle the stress of driving. They appear too anxious or too scared behind the wheel. These drivers panic or startle easily which could be a real threat.
The best advice against these neglectful drivers is to avoid them. Let them pass. Keep a safe distance from them.
How to Avoid Car Accidents
Here are some tips on how to avoid car accidents.
The best strategy on how to avoid car accidents is to become a better defensive driver. As a defensive driver, you would want to play it safe. So you may want to avoid the fast lane because most accidents occur there. Moreover, the highway patrol officers keep an eye most on the fast lane. You will not only avoid accidents but also speeding tickets by driving in a different lane.
We tend to focus on the car ahead of us. To remain safe, you need to keep your eyes scanning the surrounding area including the cars on the sides. This will help you avert side collisions or keep you in an alert mode.
You ought to remember there are blind spots. So instead of relying too much on mirrors be sure to look behind, especially when changing lanes. Mirrors are good for optimal viewing but you cannot see everything.
Where you keep your hands is important for optimal control over the car. You must use both your hands, one at the 9 position of the clock and the other at 3, so as to ensure optimal control over the vehicle.
You may use the strategy of the race-car driver to get greater control of the wheel. This doesn’t mean you have to drive at over 100 MPH. It only means you have to move your seat close enough to let your hands rest comfortably on the steering wheel so as to have confident control over your car.
The condition of a car may have something to say about its driver. Inattentive owners generally keep their cars in a tattered condition. Stay clear of these cars for the obvious reason. Those that drive more carefully usually have nicer, cleaner cars.
If you know the limits of your car, you will probably know how it is going to perform under dangerous conditions. Each car has limits, for instance, how well it behaves around curves, how its brakes work? A good assessment of your car will keep you safe.
It need not be reminded that your car must be in good condition for safe and optimal performance. Regular maintenance such as replacing the old tires when the tread is low and the change of oil at the required intervals is almost like a guarantee of safety.
Driving in the dark is not a safe idea. It must be avoided unless it is an emergency or a necessity.
If you have driven a race car, you probably already know how to avoid car accidents. If not, a racing school will teach you defensive driving maneuvers. You certainly enhance your safety when you drive like a race car driver.
Nine Ways to Drive Safely
Thousands of Americans die needlessly when a little safety measure could have saved their lives. Consumers are often reminded by the auto trade bodies to follow a set of steps to keep accidents to the minimum. Here are ten useful safety tips that are well known, yet often forgotten.
- Exercise caution while pulling into traffic. Be slow. Be aware of blind spots. Look both directions when taking a turn at an intersection. Vehicles might pop up suddenly from nowhere.
- Beware of Red Light runners. Wait a while after the green light to avoid those speeding through the yellow light, in case there are. Caution is needed while passing semis. Be extra vigilant when near an 18 wheeler. Truck drivers do have a blind spot to their right. A truck driver cannot see you if you cannot see his side mirrors.
- Ensure you have at least one hand on the steering wheel. There are several distractions to be avoided including taking a hand off the steering wheel, eating momentarily, cell phones, changing CD, or radio stations. A blown tire, a pothole, or a gust of wind could sway your vehicle off the lane and cause an accident.
- Watch for animals and kids. They can suddenly pop out ahead on the road. Drive carefully in residential lanes where kids can run ahead oblivious of your speeding car.
- Maintain engine regularly. Keep tires inflated and change the oil regularly so as to avoid vehicle failure or sudden stalls.
- Keep your vision wide. Focus on the area that is 10 to 12 seconds ahead. Position your vehicle at a safe distance from other vehicles so as to avoid a collision if one of them swerves or stalls suddenly and unexpectedly.
- Don’t depend on the mirror alone. Whenever backing out, ensure to look backward. A tiny kid invisible to you could be just behind. There could be other cars leaving parking spaces. Look out for them to avoid a fender bender. Mirrors can create blind spots that can be avoided by looking over your shoulders to the right and left.
- Avoid tailgate. Tailgating causes a large number of accidents. A three-second cushion between your care and the car ahead is the best strategy to avoid tailgate.
- Avoid arguments. Arguments are common when the traffic volume is high. It can lead to road rage. Be courteous even when the other driver is reckless. The suspicious driving activity should be reported to authorities.
When you know how to avoid car accidents, you are most probably safe on the road. However, you never know how you can become a victim of the follies of others. In case of an accident, minor or severe, it helps to have the support of a lawyer. Quirk Reed LLP stands by you in your support, no matter how complicated or difficult your case is.