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Driving Safely During COVID-19

Driving Safely to Avoid Traffic-Related Personal Injury Accidents During COVID-19

There were 40,231 motor vehicle traffic deaths in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now that we're under the lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis, traffic is far less congested; however, accidents are still occurring for a variety of reasons. Here are some ways to handle a traffic-related personal injury accident in the post-COVID world.

Traffic-Related Personal Injury Prevention

COVID-19 has been daunting for most everyone. While many are at home, there are several essential workers who still need to drive to their jobs daily or who drive for work. Although roads are likely less crowded, the potential for accidents still exists due to such threats as:

Distracted drivers: During the pandemic, many may feel it necessary to more frequently check for updates via radio and keep contact with friends and family via phone or text, and some may do this on the road.

Stress: High stress levels can affect a person's mood and, subsequently, the way a person drives. Stress can also increase the chances of experiencing road rage.

Reckless driving and speeding: With roads being emptier than usual, some may feel tempted to drive faster or more recklessly to get where they are going. In Philadelphia, police have noted an upward trend in more serious car accidents that hospitalize drivers caused by more reckless driving.

Tired driving: With the worry and stress that come with a global pandemic, many people may find it difficult to get enough sleep and may be driving while tired during the commute to and from work.

In order to keep safe on the roads during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some additional tips that drivers can follow:

Avoid distractions: While it may be tempting to look at a text right away or answer a call while driving, it's important to keep focused on the road. Keeping your phone out of reach in the back seat or inside a purse or bag can help keep you from checking it. Avoid fiddling with the radio while you're driving, and be sure not to get distracted by passengers.

Take care of your body: Making healthy changes, such as getting enough sleep and eating healthier, can help reduce stress levels, which can help keep you safer while you're driving.

Avoid driving if you don't feel well: If you are feeling ill or fatigued, it's important to avoid driving as this can reduce your reaction time and increase your risk for accidents. Coughing or sneezing while on the road can also cause you to be distracted.

Drive defensively: Keep an eye out for any other drivers who may be driving recklessly or speeding so that you can avoid them and keep yourself safe.

Maintain your vehicle: While many people are driving less frequently, some vehicles are left to sit for weeks or months without being touched, which can cause problems with how your car functions. Before driving anywhere, make sure your vehicle is in good driving condition to reduce your risk of accidents. Check on your battery, your tires, your lights, and your windows before heading off to make sure that you are being as safe as possible.

Driving Safely Around Large Trucks

Right now, truck drivers and their services are in high demand. Their skill set is extra-valuable because they are one of the major components that keeps the supply chain in the country moving. During the pandemic, it is even more important than usual to exercise caution when driving around large trucks in order to avoid accidents.

One way to help stay safe when near semitrucks is to give them extra space. Make sure that if you're behind a semitruck, you increase the distance between the truck and your own vehicle. If you follow too closely, the truck driver cannot see you, and you significantly reduce your own reaction time if they stop suddenly. Semitrucks also need a lot more space in order to make turns, so be sure to avoid passing them during this time or getting in between the truck and the sidewalk.

Truck drivers also need more time in order to stop their vehicles safely. Thus, it's important to avoid changing into their lane in front of them too quickly, especially if you know you'll need to slow down or stop right away. When you do change into their lane, make sure you turn in your signal early and give them plenty of time to react. If you can help it, try to always shift into their lane from the left side, as it makes you easier to see, and leave lots of space between you and the truck, just in case they need to stop abruptly.

Tractor-trailers also come with much larger blind spots than smaller vehicles have. It's important to stay out of these blind spots as often as possible. A truck driver's blind spots include 20 feet in front of the truck, 30 feet behind the truck, two lanes to the right of the trailer, and one lane to the left of the trailer. If you find yourself in any of these spaces, change lanes to move ahead of the truck or slow down. Additionally, be wary of your headlights shining into their mirrors as this can also affect their ability to see you and other vehicles.

If You Are in an Accident

Even if you take all of the necessary safety precautions, motor vehicle accidents can still happen. If you are involved in a car accident that involves another vehicle, call for medical attention first. Then, request that an officer come to your location. You are also going to need the insurance and company information of the driver. When the police officer arrives on the scene, he will take a report from your perspective as well as his. A case is opened. With that case number, you can contact your insurance company. Then, they will request that you fill out several forms and answer a few questions. The insurance company will try to determine who is at fault and will assess the damage and the amount that they may have to pay out if you were at fault or if the driver does not have insurance.

If you were involved in an accident with a semitruck, it may be due to poor training or defects of the truck itself. Liability could fall on the company that owns the truck or potentially the manufacturer of the truck, among others. An Allentown truck accident lawyer may be necessary to help you determine who is at fault.

If you've been injured in a car accident, you may find yourself facing medical bills and damage to your vehicle that you cannot afford. If the other party is deemed liable, you could be entitled to compensation to help cover these costs. Lawyers who focus their practice in injury cases due to traffic accidents can help you figure out the next steps forward. Their knowledge and experience come in handy during a time like this because they can help you understand the process of filing a claim, assist with gathering all of the necessary documents, and represent you in court if necessary.

To receive more information about our Allentown truck accident lawyer, give us a call today at Metzger & Kleiner at our Lehigh Valley office at (610) 435-7400 or use our online chat.

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