Each year, tens of thousands of people die while traveling on roads and highways throughout the United States. Poor road design, impaired drivers and lack of access to emergency services all play a role in causing fatal accidents to happen. Let’s take a closer look at how many accidents occur in the United States each year and what your rights are after being involved in a motor vehicle wreck.

Traffic Fatalities Increased in 2020

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic fatalities increased 7.2% in 2020 to an estimated 38,680. This increase was in spite of the fact that fewer vehicles were on the road because of travel restrictions implemented because of the pandemic. According to the NHTSA, speeding and impaired driving were the primary factors for the increase in fatal accidents in 2020.

How Excessive Speed and Impaired Driving Increases the Risk of an Accident

A driver who is traveling faster than the posted speed limit will generally need more room to come to a stop. It may also be harder to turn, change lanes or take other evasive actions to avoid an accident while traveling at speeds that are too fast for road conditions.

During periods of inclement weather, it may be necessary to travel slower than the posted speed limit to minimize your risk of an accident. This is because tires have a difficult time making contact with the road when they are covered in water, ice or snow. Therefore, there is a greater chance of spinning out or otherwise losing control of your car or truck while traveling at high rates of speed.

It can be almost impossible to process information at a reasonable speed while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Therefore, you may not notice that you have run a stop sign or a red light until after you have gone through an intersection. You may also fail to notice that a person, animal or object is in your path until it is too late to avoid a collision.

Rural Areas Can Be Hard to Reach In a Timely Manner

In 2019, the fatality rate on rural roads was twice as high as the fatality rate on urban roads. This was according to data obtained from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). One of the key reasons for this disparity is that it takes more time for emergency personnel to get to accidents that take place in remote locations. Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for many rural communities to be located more than an hour away from the nearest hospital. Therefore, those who experience injuries that might be treatable perish because they don’t have access to the care that they need to survive.

How Road Design Can Result in Traffic Fatalities

If a road is curved, it may make it harder to scan for people or objects that could potentially be in your path. If a road is not clearly marked, it could be harder to maintain your lane or to find the appropriate turn lane. An inability to understand where your car should be positioned could significantly increase your risk of a crash. Furthermore, you could be at risk of colliding with medians, guardrails or other barriers that are not properly installed on a given road or highway.

What Can You Do If You’re Involved in a Car Crash?

If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is generally in your best interest to contact an accident attorney as quickly as possible. If you are killed in a crash, a family member may have standing to pursue a wrongful death case on your behalf. Alternatively, whoever was appointed in your will or trust to represent your estate may be able to bring a lawsuit on your behalf.

Regardless of who decides to take legal action, a lawsuit must generally be filed within two years of the date of an accident that causes bodily injury or death. In most cases, the attorney representing your interests will file a lawsuit the day that he or she is hired in an effort to preserve your rights. However, it’s worth noting that most motor vehicle accident cases are resolved outside of court.

What Happens if the Other Driver Dies in a Crash?

If the driver who caused the crash dies as a result of his or her actions, you are still entitled to compensation. In such a scenario, the deceased driver’s estate will be named as a defendant in any personal injury or wrongful death case related to your accident.

There are many potential dangers that you might face while traveling on roads and highways throughout America. However, it may be possible to mitigate those dangers by only driving while sober and alert. Furthermore, you should do whatever it takes to eliminate distractions such as eating, drinking or using a cellphone while your car is in motion. If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney right away.