Car accidents can occur due to a variety of reasons and challenges. Some of those challenges fall under the driver’s control—driving while distracted, for example. Others, including potentially dangerous weather conditions, might fall outside of the driver’s control. Albany drivers may face hazards on the roads, from increased traffic around the Albany Mall to potentially distracted drivers. In this blog post, we discuss common causes of Albany car accidents; read on for more information.
Driving Under the Influence
Alcohol-related crashes cause some of the highest motor vehicle accident injury rates throughout Albany. Drinking and driving can have dire ramifications. According to the NHTSA, around 30 percent of traffic crash fatalities involve alcohol consumption by one or more drivers. Drinking and driving make it very difficult for drivers to keep the attention and focus they need on the road.
Drunk drivers may:
- Struggle with tunnel vision. Drunk drivers often suffer from various visual disturbances, including blurred or tunnel vision. That lack of clear vision can make it much more difficult for drivers to see what happens around them on the road, which means that they may inadvertently hit other vehicles or even pedestrians because they never saw them.
- Have poor decision-making skills. Often, drunk drivers will make dangerous, even deadly, decisions on the road because they fail to process those potential hazards properly.
- Lack of adequate reflexes to safely control a vehicle. Owning a motor vehicle means having the ability to address potential challenges that the driver may face, including another driver needing to slam on their brakes or the flow of traffic changing. The slowed reflexes in inebriated individuals may lead to substantially increased accident risk since those individuals may not have the skills to navigate those hazards safely.
- Fail to maintain higher-order executive reasoning and problem-solving skills. Driving can involve the need to make several decisions, often very quickly, to protect the safety of others around you on the road. Unfortunately, intoxicated drivers often lack the problem-solving skills to address concerns they may encounter. They may end up making dangerous decisions rather than safely navigating the road in front of them.
- Struggle with motor control. Frequently, drinking interferes heavily with motor skills. A drunk driver may have difficulty controlling his vehicle due to that overall lack of motor control.
According to New York Law, a drunk driver may bear liability for any injuries caused by his negligent actions. In addition, New York’s dram shop law notes that an entity that illegally sells alcohol to someone who causes an injury, including selling alcohol to a minor or selling alcohol to someone who already shows obvious signs of intoxication, may bear legal liability for injuries caused by that negligent sale.
Speeding serves as the second most common cause of fatal accidents in Albany. Drivers throughout the Albany area may choose to speed for several reasons. They may speed because they enjoy the thrill. They may feel that they can safely control their vehicles even at those high rates of speed and ignore the rules of the road. Many drivers want to reach their destinations faster, especially if, for any reason, they previously ended up caught in traffic.
Unfortunately, speeding may substantially increase the risk of a dangerous collision. As a driver’s speed increases, so does the risk of an accident. At high rates of speed, drivers need to react much faster in order to avoid a potential accident. Furthermore, at high rates of speed, a driver may need more room to turn or stop in the event of a potentially dangerous scenario. Unfortunately, often, drivers exceed the speed at which they can safely complete those maneuvers.
Speeding can also increase the severity of the injuries associated with an accident. At high rates of speed, accidents involve a great deal more force, which acts on both the vehicles involved in the accident and the bodies of the people in those vehicles. Speeding may lead to significantly more severe injuries.
Ignoring the Rules of the Road
Failing to follow the rules of the road can have serious consequences as drivers move through the streets of Albany. Drivers who ignore road rules may fail to follow traffic signals or ignore speed limits. They may make illegal turns or, worst-case scenario, even turn the wrong way down a one-way road.
Unfortunately, many drivers choose to drive as though the rules of the road do not apply to them. They drive at the speeds they feel comfortable driving, even though those speeds may not prove safe either for them or for the other drivers around them. They might try to run red lights and stop signs, feeling that they should not have to wait or that waiting will further extend the time needed for them to reach their destination.
Unfortunately, those dangerous behaviors can make drivers very unpredictable. A driver who ignores the rules of the road could strike another driver directly due to that negligence or could end up involved in an accident because the other driver did not recognize his intent until too late to prevent the hazard.
Failing to Yield
Knowing when to yield can prove invaluable out on the road. Drivers may need to yield to oncoming traffic when merging into traffic or to pedestrians already in crosswalks.
For some drivers, however, yielding seems as though it will prevent them from reaching their destinations promptly. They might try to force their way into traffic, jump forward at a light, or otherwise engage in reckless driving behaviors that may prevent them from safely reaching their destinations.
Failure to yield may make it impossible for other drivers to figure out what the driver in that vehicle intends to do or how he will progress smoothly through traffic. Ultimately, it can cause traffic snarls or devastating collisions.
Distracted driving can cause serious issues for any driver. Throughout the Albany area, drivers may struggle with various potential distractions behind the wheel. New York does have clear laws against texting and driving. Texting drivers can face fines and even, over time, license loss due to their negligent behaviors. However, many drivers continue texting and driving despite knowing the potential dangers.
Furthermore, many drivers face distractions other than their phones while behind the wheel. Some drivers may struggle with distractions associated with using the vehicle: programming an onboard GPS device, for example, or operating the radio.
Even selecting the right temperature controls for the vehicle can take a driver’s attention away from the road and lead to a serious accident. Other drivers may find themselves distracted by things that have nothing to do with the task of driving. Eating or drinking behind the wheel, putting on makeup, or reviewing paperwork en route to the office can all pose potentially devastating distractions.
Other people and animals in the vehicle can also pose a dangerous distraction. A driver who has to deal with an animal moving around in the vehicle or a child complaining in the back seat may take his attention off the road, increasing the danger he may face. Simply talking to another adult passenger can also prove distracting enough to cause an accident.
Distracted drivers do not have their full attention on the road, which means they may have a much higher risk of missing what is happening around them. They may fail to note the actions of other drivers or miss changes in speed limits or traffic signals, all of which may raise the risk of an accident.
Most major cities have some intersections that prove more dangerous than others. Albany’s most dangerous intersections may include:
- Robin Street and Central Avenue
- Chapel Street and Columbia Street
- Western Avenue and Englewood Place
- Lake Avenue and Western Avenue
- South Pearl Street and Second Avenue
Intersections can prove particularly dangerous for a number of reasons. In many cases, an intersection poses a higher degree of damage because of heavy traffic in the area. Dangers may also include poor overall visibility in the intersection, including blind hills or scenery that interferes with overall visibility in the area. Dangerous intersections may also have unclear traffic signals, making it more difficult for drivers to determine the right of way.
Aggressive driving behaviors can cause serious problems on the streets of Albany. As many as eight out of 10 drivers may exhibit signs of road rage while out on the road. Aggressive driving behaviors have also increased in recent years, causing a greater overall risk of aggression out on the road.
Aggressive behaviors can take a number of forms: weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring the rules of the road, or tailgating. In addition, aggressive drivers may try to force others off the road or otherwise engage in potentially dangerous behaviors. Raging drivers may also follow other drivers and engage in acts of aggression outside the vehicle.
Pedestrian accidents can pose a substantial problem throughout the Albany area. Albany aims to create safe streets for pedestrians. However, pedestrians may face a higher overall risk than others on the roads since they have so little protection from motor vehicles that could cause them serious injury. Pedestrian accidents can result in more severe injuries than other types of accidents or raise the risk of death in a devastating collision.
Pedestrian accidents often occur because Albany drivers fail to pay appropriate attention to the other things around them. Drivers generally pay more attention to things that fit the visual profile of a vehicle since they need to focus on the things they most often encounter on the road. As a result, they may fail to take note of pedestrians around them. Drivers may also try to avoid yielding to pedestrians since they may feel that waiting for pedestrians to cross the street will interfere with their journey or make it take longer to get to their destination.
The conditions Albany drivers face on the road can substantially impact their ability to navigate successfully. The Albany area may face a number of potential dangers that can increase overall hazards on the road. In Albany, as in other areas of the country, accidents may occur more often at night. Not only does nighttime offer poor overall visibility, but it may also increase driver fatigue, which can further raise the risk of an accident.
Albany sees approximately 60 inches of snow each year during the winter months. On those cold days, snow and ice can cover the roads. While Albany has a strong infrastructure to deal with snow and ice on the roads, drivers may still face unexpected hazards that can lead to slipping and sliding. Slippery conditions can raise the risk of an accident.
Albany drivers may also have to deal with significant rainfall that can pose an unexpected danger. During heavy rainfall, drivers may find it harder to prevent sliding on the road.
Do You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Albany?
Many accidents in Albany occur because of the negligence of a driver or other party. Suppose you suffer injuries in an Albany accident due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, you may deserve compensation for the damages that went along with those injuries, including compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and suffering.
By working with an Albany personal injury lawyer, you can identify the party that caused your accident and learn more about how you can fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact an experienced Albany auto accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible to learn more about how you can pursue the compensation you deserve.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties.
An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.