Nobody ever plans to be in a auto accident, but is there a way to reduce the severity of the aftermath, or even the likelihood of being involved in one in the first place? It may come as a surprise, but by adopting simple vehicle safety practices and educating yourself on your local roads, you can lower the possibility of facing or causing serious car accident injuries. In Tallahassee, FL, Leon County experienced a 41% increase in motor vehicle accidents between 2011 and 2015. While this may be an alarming increase, crash related injuries are easily avoidable through awareness and caution. (1)
Common Car Accident Causes
Sometimes auto accidents occur because of factors that are completely out of our control, such as unexpected heavy rains or car troubles; however, it is often the case that car accidents are caused by poor driver judgment. When a driver is impaired or distracted, they are more likely to cause an accident.
Impaired or Drunk Driving (2) - One of the most common ways that drivers can become impaired when behind the wheel is through the consumption of alcohol. In 2015, alcohol-impaired driving crashes accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. Driving under the influence of alcohol greatly impedes your ability to properly operate a car, truck or scooter and can lead to getting a DUI or worse, seriously injuring yourself and others. Some of the ways that being intoxicated effects your driving is:
- Impaired perception
- Reduced coordination
- Reduced speed/braking control
- Difficulty steering/maintaining lane position
- Reduced ability to track moving objects
Driving under the influence involves more than just alcohol; illegal AND legal drugs (medications) can dangerously impair your driving as well. Drugs other than alcohol accounted for about 18% of all car crashes in 2015. While this may include recreational drugs, prescription opioid painkillers are becoming an epidemic health crisis in the United States. Researchers from Columbia University have discovered that the number of people involved in an auto accident with opioids in their system has jumped from 1% in 1995 to 7% in 2015. (3) This increase in opioid-related car accidents is ironic considering that if you saw your primary care physician or visited the Emergency Room to seek medical attention for a car accident injury, they often prescribe opioid painkillers (such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, etc.) as a first line of treatment. These substances are highly addictive and can be habit-forming. This is why seeking alternative and more holistic treatments can not only be helpful to you, but can help lower the risk of opioid-impaired driving injuries. Because chiropractors are taught to treat neck and back pain using drug-free methods, they are specifically knowledgeable in helping relieve pain caused by car accident injuries, while also avoiding temporary treatments that can lead to addiction.
Distracted Driving (4) - Becoming a more prevalent problem as technology continues to improve, distracted driving can be just as dangerous as impaired driving. Distracted driving is driving while doing something that takes you attention away from driving. When driving, there are three main types of distraction:
1. Manual – taking your hands off of the wheel
2. Visual – taking your eyes off of the road
3. Cognitive – taking your mind off of driving
Talking on the cell phone or getting into an in-depth conversation is an example of cognitive distraction, because your mind is not focused on driving. Eating food or brushing your teeth while driving is an example of a manual distraction, because you are taking your hands off of the wheel. While there are many different ways in which someone can become distracted while driving, the most prevalent and more importantly the most dangerous has become texting while driving, because it involves all three types of distraction at the same time. On average, sending or receiving a text message takes your eyes off of the road for about five seconds; if you are driving at 55 mph, that is enough time to cover the length of an entire football field. With 391,000 people injured in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver in 2015, those five seconds clearly count.
Driving Safety Measures (5)
Although we can’t anticipate when or if we will be involved in a motor vehicle accident, we can still take preventative safety measures to reduce the damage they cause, or perhaps even avoid them altogether. One of the most effective ways to reduce car accident related injuries and even save lives is through the driver and passengers’ use of a seatbelt. Seatbelts also help to reduce the risk of whiplash, one of the most common injuries that car accident victims suffer from. In 2015, seatbelts saved almost 14,000 lives. (6) Other proactive safety measures that you can take before getting behind the wheel include:
- Turning off your cell or i phone – texting or answering phone calls can serve as dangerous distractions while driving. Turning off your phone can help you avoid the temptation of using it while driving, especially if it is a short trip.
- Avoid multitasking by being prepared – Doing things like having all your items in place or setting up the GPS before you hit the road can help ensure that you are not distracted by other activities while driving.
- Use Bluetooth – one of the positive things that has come from technological improvements is that a lot of cars and devices are hands-free, so you won’t have to take your hands off of the wheel.
- Have alternative methods of getting around if you know you will be impaired – if you know ahead of time that you are going to be consuming alcohol, prepare to have a designated driver or to take a taxi or uber.
Car Crash Facts in Tallahassee
In 2017 alone, there have been 361 alcohol suspected crashes in Leon County so far, and 3,346 car accident related injuries reported. Tallahassee and the areas surrounding colleges like Florida State University are particularly susceptible to car accidents and the injuries they cause because the violators of these bad driving practices are often young adults around the age of college students. Not only are young adults from the age of 18-24 are less likely to wear seatbelts than those who are older (7), but nearly 3/10 drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% (the legal limit to drive) or higher involved in fatal crashes were between 21-24 years old. (8) Regardless of the factors causing these car accidents and resulting injuries in Tallahassee, every resident is susceptible to the possibility of being in a crash. As well as practicing good driving behaviors, it is also helpful to know which intersections in Tallahassee have seen a lot of accidents in the past, so that you can be more cautious when encountering them in the future.
Top 10 Accident Intersections In Tallahassee (9)
1. Ocala Road and Pensacola Street
2. Apalachee Parkway and Blair Stone Road
3. Railroad Avenue and West Gaines Street Near FSU
4. Capital Circle NW and West Tennessee Street
5. Calloway Road and North Monroe Street
6. Blounstown Highway and Captial Circle
7. Paul Russell Road and Blair Stone Road
8. Ocala Road and West Tennessee Street
9. Lafayette Street and Apalachee Parkway
10. Apalachee Parkway and Capital Circle Northeast
With such a high prevalence of auto accident injury in Tallahassee, it is helpful to know that there are natural auto accident treatments available locally. At Pragle Chiropractic and Massage Therapy, Dr. Eric provides careful examination, professional diagnosis, and proper treatment to help relieve the pain caused by car accident injuries.
For a free consultation with Dr. Eric, please visit www.praglechiro.com or call 850 508 5951