South Carolina ranked “8th most dangerous state to drive in” recently by The Wall Street Journal. And, this isn’t the first time we’ve received a poor rating. Often South Carolina has more accidents and deaths per 100,000 residents than other states in the country.
What can we do to help keep drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists safe on the roads? Defensive driving begins with each one of us. This means watching out for the other motorist and being prepared to take evasive measures. As a driver, we need to focus on our task at hand, first, which encompasses being alert, keeping our eyes moving at all times, checking rear view mirrors, side mirrors and so forth. We have to be actively engaged while we are driving at all times.
Driving is an active skill, and it includes not only making sure our vehicles are being operated properly and in accordance with the law, but also being alert to other motorists failing to operate properly… like running a red light.
Driving over Hills
When is an accident your responsibility? There is a body of law that says just because a car is illegally parked doesn’t mean you can run into it. But, if it is illegally parked, and you are unable to avoid damaging it, then it is liability. Take for instance a recent scenario when a race car driver was severely injured. A semi tractor trailer illegally stopped, causing the driver to crash into the back of the semi. He broke both legs and can’t drive anymore. The accident occurred after a driver went over a blind hill.
We have enough overpasses in our Charleston area where this type of incident can and does occur. Most of us wouldn’t even think about this danger. An example would be the overpass on Hwy 17 before Main Road where an accident like this did occur. The driver was going too fast and didn’t keep a proper lookout. When he came over the hill, he crashed into a truck which was sitting still due to traffic buildup. Slow down when driving over hills.
Stopping on Bridges
Vehicles often stop on our bridges in Charleston… avoid it. Even if you have a flat tire, cautiously drive down the hill and then pull over. If the tire and car will move, then move it off the bridge drive on a flat. You can buy a new tire, but you can get seriously hurt by pulling over on the side of the bridge.
In the low country, flooding seems to be regularly present. At High tide, lower elevations like Long Point Road and Lockwood Boulevard are covered in water. It’s pretty common knowledge of flood prone Charleston areas, such as the CrossTown; especially this time of year with the roads are heavily traveled, look for natural conditions that could cause issues on the road like high tide and flooding.
Hit & Runs
Hit and runs can be very dangerous this day and age. If this happens to you, try to get a plate number. Or, if a phone or camera is accessible, then snap a quick photo of the vehicle. If the car is fleeing the scene, take mental notes about the vehicle. Try to remember a description of the fleeing vehicle as well as its route, then report to the police as soon as possible while details are still fresh in mind.
Signs of a Drunk Driver & Actions to Take
Drinking and driving is another important matter, seemingly more common during the holidays. Symptoms of drunk driving include weaving, driving much slower than the speed limit, and repetitive braking for no obvious reason. Notify the police immediately and be prepared to provide a description of the offending vehicle as well as location and direction of travel.
If involved in a collision with a drunken motorist be sure to observe the offending driver for any slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, alcohol odor, unsteady gait, and the like, information which should be reported to the police upon arrival. If legal assistance is required, notify Barrow Law Firm.
Stay safe this Holiday season and EVERY day on the roads, Charleston.