As much as we try to prevent tragedies like experiencing a car wreck in Alabama, the reality is, oftentimes, it’s completely unavoidable. Nearly 40,000 people lost their lives to traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2019, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Traffic accidents have become such a nuisance that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) even declared them an “important public health issue” that needs to be tackled.
Teens in the U.S. are at an especially high risk since motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death for their age group, as reported by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Deaths resulting from these crashes are completely preventable with “driver inexperience” being cited as the primary cause.
The roads are looking even more dire in Alabama where traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among all state residents aged 1 to 39 years, once again per the Alabama Department of Public Health. In fact, Alabama ranks third in highest motor vehicle accident mortality rates overall among all 50 states.
So, the way the statistics are trending, I think it’s safe to assume that whether we like it or not, bad things happen. But there are ways to keep your family safe, both before and after a car wreck in Alabama, even amid all the stats and pomp. Vehicular deaths are nearly 100 percent preventable—or at least serious harm is fairly unavoidable—if you take the following steps.
Strapping you and your loved ones securely into your vehicle is likely the most effective way to protect yourselves on the road. Over half of people killed in Alabama car wrecks are not wearing their seat-belts, according to the Alabama Department of Transportation. Not only is it illegal but following the rules in this scenario could literally save your life and the lives of those you love most. So, buckle up!
Head held high, shoulders back, feet on the floorboard… not only is it proper, it’s necessary when driving or riding in a car. Cars are designed with your safety in mind, but only when you are seated the way in which the car was designed to provide the utmost support and protection. Sit up straight—now is not the time for relaxation, while driving—and tell those riding with you to keep their feet off the dashboard. It leaves unsightly scuff marks and puts them in harm’s way. Therefore, enforcing this rule is a win-win.
Some things go bump in the night, and other things go flying through vehicles that are forcibly jarred or stopped suddenly. These flying objects—be it a water bottle or a purse—can cause great bodily harm when a strike occurs at 45+ miles an hour. Make sure all items are securely tucked away where they won’t initiate a face-to-object encounter should a car-to-car collision occur.
All states, including Alabama, have laws regarding car seats and appropriate child safety restraints. These laws are created to optimize your child’s best chance for survival and lessen their severity of harm should they be an unsuspecting party to a car crash. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers their own set of guidelines, as well, such as a recommendation that all children under the age of 14 remain in the backseat where their risk of harm is greatly reduced. Keep in mind that an airbag deploying full-force from the dashboard, while designed to cushion the blow for an adult, can wreak-havoc on tiny faces and frames. Best to keep the little ones out of the firing zone.
Rules are our friends… It’s always best to adhere to speed limits and stop signs and yield to right of ways when getting from point A to point B. Be aware of other drivers, as well. Just because you’re erring on the side of caution doesn’t mean they are. The safest drivers play a bit of defense as well as offense. At the end of the day, you are only responsible for you, and you probably want to safeguard your family, too.
Speaking of defense, no matter what you do, sometimes accidents happen. The most important thing to remember in any emergency is you must stay calm, first and foremost. This will allow you to make sound decisions to best handle the situation. So, breathe… assess the situation and follow quick but composed steps to ensure you and your child/loved ones well-being.
If your children are seated in the back seat and an accident involving your vehicle is imminent, you’ll only have a few seconds to react. In those few seconds, you should steer the vehicle’s hood toward the likely impact point. This will minimize the damage you and your passengers take since the front portion of the car and engine will absorb a large component of the crash’s damage. In addition, this ensures your backseat passengers take as little damage as possible.
While your first instinct is to check on your child or loved ones, your top priority should be preventing a pile-up or secondary crash from occurring. After a fender bender, safely pull the car to the side of the road if possible. Staying in the middle of busy traffic or near turn lanes greatly increases your risk of being hit again. If you can’t safely maneuver into a parking lot, move as far off to the side of the road as you can.
Sometimes you are safer out of the car rather than in the car after a car wreck in Alabama. If your car is unmovable and sitting in a precarious location, or if harm is imminent, such as you smell a gas leak, you need to carefully remove yourself from the vehicle. Exit the car away from oncoming traffic, when possible. Make sure to guide young children or injured passengers to safety. And get as far away from the car and the road as you can.
The first number you’ll need to call is 911. Stay on the phone until help arrives.
Once you are in a safer position, you can check on your child. However, most experts suggest waiting on EMTs to pick up or move a child in a car seat. This is arguably the hardest piece of advice for parents, but improperly moving a child can worsen any and all injuries.
While you wait for the EMT’s to arrive, carefully monitor your child for injury symptoms including heavy or abnormal breathing, bleeding from the mouth or nose, and abnormal speech. Even if you see no initial signs of pain, always allow the medical experts to do an examination (for you and your child).
If you have been involved in a car crash in Alabama, even one that may seem minor on the surface, you should be aware that injuries could have occurred may not yet exhibit symptoms for some time. You MUST seek a medical evaluation after a car accident if you think your children or loved ones are experiencing any symptoms of injury. There are some serious types of car wreck injuries that may not exhibit symptoms until after a period of time lapses.
These car wreck injuries may include:
No matter how much you prepare, sometimes a car wreck in Alabama is unpreventable. But preparation can ensure you stay as safe as possible if one happens. Unfortunately, even the most responsible motorists can suffer from life-changing injuries due to the negligence of other drivers.
After all is said and done, you might need to hire an attorney, depending on the severity of the accident and any injuries sustained by you or a loved one. An experienced Alabama Car Wreck Lawyer can review your claim and determine how to best protect you and your loved ones.
Surviving a car crash is one of the most stressful and traumatic events you can experience in your life. After a car wreck in Alabama, you and your family deserve to rest, relax, and heal without worrying about whether or not you will be able to afford your medical bills. When you work with an empathetic, experienced Alabama car wreck lawyer, they will fight for you so you can focus on your recovery.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, the Alabama Car Wreck Lawyers at Taylor Martino are here to help. We offer a free consultation where we will help you evaluate your options and decide if a lawsuit is the right course of action for you.