As with many things in life it often takes “two to tango” in a driving accident. Insurance companies use comparative negligence to determine how much financial responsibility each party involved in the accident will carry. Even if you are a considerate driver, it is possible that a small error on your part will contribute to an accident. The lawyers at Kryder Law can assist you in understanding your liability in an accident involving comparative negligence.
1. Headlights: In Illinois, drivers are required to use their headlights from sunset to sunrise and when conditions (rain, fog, snow, or sleet) require the use of windshield wipers. Make sure you’ve got your headlights on when necessary to improve your ability see as well as others’ ability to see you. Which brings us to #2…
2. Weather: Poor road conditions due to weather cause approximately 23% of all auto accidents each year. Be sure to drive more cautiously in snow, rain, high winds, fog, and other treacherous conditions.
3. Rolling stops: We’ve all been tempted to slide through a stop sign at an empty intersection. Yet stopping completely–your speedometer should read zero and your car come to a complete rest–is an important habit that promotes safe driving. If there’s a crosswalk or stop line, stop before it. If you can’t see the intersection clearly, stop again before entering it. And, speaking of driving temptations…
4. Accelerating through yellow: Many of us are guilty of this driving temptation–why slow down when a little speed will let us breeze through an intersection? However, it’s not worth the risk as many accidents (including around Chicago) are caused by motorists trying to push through the very brief window a yellow light provides.
5. Tailgating: No, we’re not referring to an afternoon outside Soldier Field during football season. Tailgating is a problem for two reasons: 1) it doesn’t provide you with enough time to safely stop if you’re following the vehicle in front of you too closely. 2) It annoys the drivers around you and annoyed drivers can be aggressive ones. Be sure to allow for 2 seconds between you and the next vehicle during good daylight driving conditions, 3 seconds at night, and 4 seconds during adverse conditions.
6. Failure to merge properly: When merging into traffic, it is important to yield to motorists already in the road. However, by being a considerate driver and moving into a different lane or letting someone in on a congested highway is a good driving habit.
7. Speeding: High speeds factor into over thirty percent of fatal car crashes. Instead of viewing the speed limit as a “suggestion,” remember it’s the law and that it’s there for your, and other drivers’ protection.
8. Failure to signal: It shouldn’t surprise you that your fellow drivers are not mind readers (and you should be thankful they aren’t). Therefore, it’s important to signal a change in lanes or a turn so other motorists are aware of your movements.
9. Distracted driving: Whether it’s eating drinking, singing along to the radio, or texting, distracted driving is a deadly practice. It’s against Illinois law to use a cell phone (unless you are using bluetooth or another hands-free device) while driving, including texting.
10. Drunk driving: Dozens of people die everyday due to drunk or impaired driving. These accidents can be easily avoided if you don’t get behind the wheel after you’ve had too much to drink. If you know you’re going to be drinking, assign someone the role of designated driver or bring cab money. There’s no reason to put yourself and others at risk.