A sideswipe collision can cause considerable damage to your vehicle, not to mention substantial injury to the people in it. More severe injuries may occur to the passengers on the side of the vehicle where the accident occurred. Sideswipe collisions may result in serious injury since many vehicles do not have as much side protection as they have in the front and rear.
Sideswipe collisions pose a risk to Syracuse residents. They usually occur for several reasons:
1. Merging difficulties on major highways can cause a higher risk of a sideswipe collision.
The Syracuse area, unfortunately, has multiple major highways, including 5, 11, 39, 45, 80, 92, and more. Major interstates in Syracuse include I-81, I-481, and I-690. Those major roadways make it easy to get around the Syracuse area and help residents travel the state, but they can also pose increased accident risk. Syracuse residents may face a high risk of a sideswipe when trying to merge into traffic.
Sometimes, merging drivers will try to force themselves over despite clear evidence that they do not have enough room to do so safely. Drivers need to ensure adequate space for their vehicles before they try to change lanes. Unfortunately, in many cases, drivers will not allow themselves the necessary room. They may try to merge too early, assuming that other drivers will make room.
Likewise, drivers already on highways and interstates may make the merging process more difficult than necessary. They may, for example, refuse to make room for another driver to merge, which may make it impossible for that driver to avoid a collision. If too many drivers in a row decline to allow adequate room for other vehicles to move over, it can clog up roadways and lead to a sideswipe.
2. The curving swaths of I-81 and I-690 may pose additional sideswipe danger.
When I-81 and I-690 first appeared in the area, they considerably increased access to Syracuse, which made those roads highly desirable for residents. However, these roads have, over time, deteriorated substantially, which means that they may pose a more substantial danger to residents. They have many tight curves, which can considerably raise the risk of a sideswipe collision as drivers attempt to navigate those roads safely. Furthermore, the lack of adequate shoulders throughout many stretches of those interstates allows drivers little room to maneuver, which may raise the risk that a driver will inadvertently cause a sideswipe collision.
I-81 routinely ranks as one of the worst urban highways in America. It offers many potential dangers to residents, particularly along the elevated stretches of the road that run through the Syracuse area. Recent construction plans aim to help remove some of those dangers, including widening them, improving overall infrastructure, and reducing heavy traffic in some areas.
3. Heavy traffic on the road may increase the risk of sideswipe collisions.
Many of the roads throughout Syracuse see heavy traffic each day. Syracuse has a population of more than 149,000, meaning many people are on the roads daily. With more people on the roads, the risk of accidents increases. Sideswipe collisions can pose a significant problem during heavy traffic, especially when people attempt to change lanes.
Changing lanes in heavy traffic often means signaling and hoping someone in the next lane will let the vehicle over. Unfortunately, sometimes, another vehicle may not offer additional room for the other driver to move over, which may result in a devastating sideswipe collision. Heavy traffic may also mean less margin for error as a driver moves through the streets of Syracuse, which may increase the risk of accidents.
4. Distracted driving may substantially increase the risk of a sideswipe collision.
New York has stringent laws against distracted driving, particularly concerning using a cell phone while behind the wheel. Despite knowing they can face massive fines, many Syracuse drivers use their phones behind the wheel, leading to heavy distractions. Drivers may suffer from various other distractions, from putting on makeup to dealing with passengers, that can take their attention away from the road.
Distracted driving falls into three categories, with many types of distraction overlapping:
- Manual distraction involves taking the driver’s hands off the wheel. A manual distraction could, for example, mean leaning over to change the radio station or picking up something that fell on the vehicle’s floorboards.
- Visual distraction involves anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. For example, looking at a child or passenger or looking down at a handheld device could pose a potent visual distraction.
- Cognitive distractions may not involve taking eyes or hands away from the task of driving, but they do take a driver’s attention away from the road, which can prove equally devastating. A cognitive distraction might include talking to someone else in the vehicle, worrying about work tasks, or talking on the phone.
Distractions may make it much more difficult for a driver to navigate safely out on the road. Often, distracted drivers will allow the car to drift across the dividing line and into another lane of traffic, which may raise the risk of a sideswipe collision.
5. Big trucks have a higher risk of causing sideswipe collisions.
With the many highways and interstates that run through the area, Syracuse sees a great deal of big truck traffic. Syracuse even has an annual Big Rig Day each year, when kids can climb behind the wheel of those trucks and take in what it might look like to head out on the road as a truck driver. Those big trucks bring many benefits, including ready transportation of goods across the region. Unfortunately, heavy amounts of big truck traffic can also pose substantial dangers, including a higher risk of sideswipe collisions.
Big trucks take up more room on the road than the average passenger vehicle. That means they have comparatively less error margin when navigating the road. Unfortunately, that also means that even a brief distraction can cause the truck to drift out of its assigned traffic lane. Weather challenges, including snow and ice on the roads, may also increase the risk that truck drivers will end up causing a devastating sideswipe accident.
Furthermore, big trucks have large blind spots. In many cases, drivers cannot see what takes place in the lane next to them. Truck drivers may get ready to change lanes, signal, and look as far as they can see but still miss the presence of a car that slipped into the blind spot. Truck drivers may fail to notice the presence of that vehicle in the other lane until they cause a devastating sideswipe collision.
Trucking collisions, including sideswipe collisions, often involve more serious damage and injury than other sideswipe collisions due to the truck’s larger overall size.
6. Changing lanes without looking can cause damaging sideswipe collisions.
Unsafe lane changes often cause a high risk of sideswipe collisions. To change lanes safely, a driver may need to signal and wait for other drivers to leave adequate room to change lanes. Unfortunately, some drivers may attempt to change lanes too fast or too recklessly. Drivers may cut into traffic without waiting to ensure they have adequate room or even fail to look altogether before changing lanes.
Vehicles with larger blind spots, including vans and SUVs, may have a higher risk of causing a sideswipe collision during a lane change. Unfortunately, other vehicles may have few options for getting out of the way when an unsafe lane change occurs, particularly during the heavy traffic Syracuse often faces.
7. Drowsy driving often leads to sideswipe collisions.
Driving while drowsy can cause many dangers out on the road. In fact, drowsy drivers show some of the same risks as intoxicated drivers, including tunnel vision, a lack of processing ability, and slowed reflexes. Furthermore, drowsy drivers may, in many cases, actually fall asleep behind the wheel.
When a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, it leaves the vehicle with no one to control it. The vehicle generally continues to move forward until it hits something and comes to a stop or until the driver wakes up and stops the vehicle himself. Often, that does not mean a direct front or rear-end collision.
Instead, especially on curvy roads like those present through much of Syracuse, it may mean that the vehicle moves out of its assigned lane, swiping another vehicle and leading to injuries. A drowsy driver may not realize that the vehicle has drifted off course until it hits something. In many cases, the collision itself wakes the drowsy driver.
8. Aggressive driving may raise the risk of a sideswipe collision.
Aggressive driving can include a variety of dangerous, reckless behaviors on the road. An aggressive driver will often swerve in and out of traffic with no clear pattern. Sometimes, aggressive drivers try to force their way into a lane, whether changing lanes or merging.
An aggressive driver often seems to drive with the assumption that other vehicles will get out of the way rather than safely sharing the road with others around him. Those aggressive driving behaviors, however, can quickly raise the risk of an accident, including sideswipe collisions.
Aggressive drivers may not realize that they have inadequate room to change lanes or that another driver will move up even with them. In some cases, aggressive drivers can even provoke other drivers to move in potentially dangerous ways, including blocking their movements through traffic.
Aggressive drivers may even deliberately cause sideswipe collisions. When an aggressive or reckless driver gets angry, he may try to deliberately move another vehicle out of his way. In many cases, that behavior will lead to a devastating sideswipe collision. It may force the other driver off the road, which can cause immense injury, particularly on the elevated streets of Syracuse.
9. Driving while intoxicated can create increased sideswipe collision potential.
Intoxicated drivers often have a very hard time safely controlling their vehicles. Frequently, they will end up in dangerous situations as they struggle to keep the vehicle on track. An intoxicated driver may swerve from side to side, change lanes abruptly, or fail to keep their vehicle in the right lane, increasing the risk of a sideswipe collision. Intoxicated drivers in Syracuse may find it particularly difficult to navigate the city’s curving roads, raising the risk that they will end up in another lane and cause a dangerous collision. Intoxicated drivers may also fail to brake or steer properly in an accident, which may raise the damage caused by the incident.
After a Sideswipe Collision in Syracuse: Your Next Steps
After a sideswipe collision in Syracuse, you may face several potential challenges, including the need to fight the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. By working with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Syracuse, you can often better identify the compensation you deserve and deal with the insurance company to maximize the compensation you can recover.
Contact a Syracuse car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible for a free consultation and fight for your right to compensation.
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.