Imagine that you’re sitting at a stoplight in Virginia. It’s dark out and slightly raining. You glance in the mirror. Suddenly, you notice that the headlights splashed over the interior of your car are getting brighter at a frightening rate. It’s hard to see, but the driver isn’t slowing down.
Frantic, you look for anywhere to go. There’s nothing. Ahead of you, a semi-truck sits at the light. On the left, there’s a pair of passenger cars, sitting bumper to bumper. On the right, there’s a heavy-duty pickup that takes up the whole lane.
Why are the roads so dangerous?
It’s frightening just to think about, isn’t it? To understand why you may find yourself in this position — and, consequently, what you can do about it — you need to know why these accidents happen. Here are some of the main reasons:
- Tailgating: The car behind you is too close to begin with. When you stop, that driver has no hope of stopping in time. If they had followed the three-second rule, staying three seconds behind your car, they never would have hit you. But they were in a hurry, they tried to get you to drive faster by tailgating, and they caused the crash.
- Distracted driving: Stopping is all about reaction time. As soon as those brake lights come on, the next driver also needs to hit the brakes. A driver who is distracted — changing the radio station, reading a text message, turning to talk to a child in the back seat — has a poor reaction time. They try to stop, but it’s too late.
- Weather issues: On wet roads, like the rain-soaked roads in the example above, cars need farther to stop. They tend to slide. It’s even worse on snow and ice. Drivers must change the way they drive depending on the weather.
- Speeding: Another component of reaction times, of course, is simply the speed of the vehicles. The faster you go, the faster you need to react. A speeding driver may slam into the back of your car before they even fully realize that you stopped at the light in the first place.
Any of these reasons can lead to serious, life-changing injuries. You may have no chance to avoid that crash or that outcome.
What rights do you have?
If you do get hurt, you could end up with significant medical bills. You must know what rights you have to seek out financial compensation.