Intoxication, distraction and fatigue can factor into a crash

When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you do so intending to safely reach your destination. Unfortunately, no matter how safely you may drive, other people on the roads can put you at serious risk. It only takes a second for a mistake by another driver to become your problem when it results in a collision. When another person causes a crash with your vehicle, there can be financial and legal consequences, sometimes lasting for years.

Sometimes, accidents do happen. Inclement weather, from sleet to fog, could make roads slippery or visibility poor. Sudden mechanical failure, like brakes locking up or a tire blowing out, can also result in a driver losing control of a vehicle. All too often, however, serious collisions are the result of poor decision making on the part of one of the drivers involved. Three particular mistakes, which are driving while fatigued, driving distracted and driving while intoxicated, are far too common in this country.

Impaired driving puts everyone at risk

Whether it's prescription medication, cough syrup, alcohol or even illegal drugs, getting behind the wheel while chemically impaired can have terrible results. Chemical impairment can slow your reaction time and even cause you to over-react when you do. Jerking on your steering wheel at high speeds, for example, could result in a rollover crash.

When one driver in a crash was drunk, the situation calls for close examination. Was the drunk driver fully at fault for the accident? If so, the other people involved may want to consider legal action against the intoxicated driver, in addition to any criminal charges that person may face.

Distracted driving is far too common

There are a million things to distract people from the road. There's changing the radio station or skipping songs on your MP3 player or phone. People sometimes choose to eat, apply make-up or even finish dressing while on the road. Others may be playing on their cellphones, texting, scrolling through social media or even recording their drive. Discussions on a hands-free device or talking with passengers in the car can lead to distraction as well.

Distracted drivers may miss signs, like a blinker or brake lights. They could blow through red lights or stop signs, or even turn the wrong way onto a one-way road. This can easily result in a collision.

Tired drivers can also put people at risk

Whether the exhausted person is driving a personal vehicle or a commercial one, tired driving can lead to a serious accident. Exhaustion can impair decision making, observation and reaction time.

Someone who is in need of sleep simply won't drive as safely or proficiently as those who are well-rested. Drivers who get behind the wheel while drowsy create risk for everyone else.

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