Two horrible rear-end vehicle accidents in Florida ended the young lives of four young women recently, leaving family and friends searching for answers about how and why these tragedies occurred. Two women from the University of Florida were killed when their car was rear ended in Okeechobee County on March 5th, and two Weston women who were students at FSU were killed on the Florida Turnpike last week, also in a rear end accident.
Most people think there’s nothing you can do to avoid, prevent, or escape a driver who comes up behind you and doesn’t stop. The reasons for these accidents may involve driver impairment (drugs or alcohol) or distracted drivers (texting) or any number of other reasons, but there are some things you can do as a sober, responsible driver to lower your chances of being hit from behind.
- When you first get in your car, don’t be in such a rush to hit the road. Take a minute to make sure your rear-view and side-view mirrors are properly adjusted so you can see what is behind you. This simple action might prevent a rear end accident and save your life, as you will see.
- When you stop at a traffic light, that is NOT the time to pull out your phone and check for messages. The person behind you might be doing the same thing while driving and be getting ready to crash into you. Your rear-view mirror has a purpose, use it. Stay alert to your surroundings.
- Always be aware of what is up the road. If you see cars starting to slow and stop, gently apply your brakes as a warning to those behind you who may not be as observant as you are. Try to slow down gradually so as to not cause a “panic” stop, which invariably leads to chain reactions of other panic stops, and collisions.
- When you do stop behind another vehicle, don’t be too close. Leave a car’s length if you can so if you look in your rear-view mirror and see approaching danger you might have an escape route. You may be able to pull over onto the median or the sidewalk to avoid a fast-moving car coming up from behind. This tactic is common for motorcyclists to rely on, but it can work for cars as well.
- Check your tail lights and brake lights! We have discussed this before, and it’s important. If you don’t have someone who can stand behind your car while you press the brakes and tell you if they’re working, you can do it solo. Back your car into a parking spot where there is a storefront. Look at your tail lights reflecting off the glass in your rear view mirror and check the lights while the car is in PARK or neutral with the parking brake on. While you’re at it check the turn signals to make sure there are no dead bulbs. Do this often. Please note: These are safety tips based on published advice from driving experts. Each situation is different.
You can Avoid a Rear End Accident if You are Alert
The bottom line is that you should drive defensively. You don’t have to be in constant fear that you are about to be struck from behind every time you drive to the grocery store, but be aware that it does happen, and it happens too often. Leave your phone alone when you’re driving, put it where you can’t reach it. Nothing is so important that you have to risk crashing into someone ahead of you, or be struck from behind.
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus deals with victims of serious accidents every day, and we hate seeing the pain and suffering they endure because of someone else’s carelessness, negligence, or criminal behavior. If you or someone you love has been injured, please understand that we have been accident attorney in south Florida for over 20 years, and we work very hard to get justice for those we represent. You can call us at 954-356-0006 to ask for a confidential consultation and we will be pleased to meet with you.