The summer travel season is upon us, and with it, our Knoxville car accident attorneys expect to see a spike in crashes related to long-distance travel.
Last month saw a spate of serious crashes throughout Tennessee, and we fear the trend shows no signs of abating.
One of the more serious incidents involved a three-car crash on Highway 96 in Williamson County, resulting in 13 injuries. Victims included seven 16-year-old girls, a 1-year-old child and a 2-year-old child. Authorities say four people had to be flown by helicopter to a hospital, as they were in critical condition.
One of the vehicles involved in that crash was a van transporting two adult coaches and seven athletes from an out-of-state girls' basketball team.
None of the children were wearing proper safety restraints.
This is troubling when we consider that 30 percent of all road trips taken in the U.S. involve children under the age of 12. It's critical that these children be put in the proper safety restraints - every single time and for the duration of the trip. It can be tempting on long trips to allow young children out of their seats, even if just for a few minutes. But an accident can unfold in a matter of seconds; taking the risk simply isn't worth it.
Another recent crash involved a Knoxville motorcyclist who had to be flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital after an accident on Highway 14 in Knoxville. A vehicle pulling out of an establishment apparently did not see the motorcyclist approaching and struck him, causing the rider to be thrown many feet in the air.
Travelers should take special care to watch for motorcyclists. They tend to be out and about more in the summer, for obvious reasons, but we're not always as used to checking for them. Motorcyclists risk greater potential injury than those on four wheels, and crashes are frequently caused by other motorists who simply aren't paying attention.
In yet another May crash, a 19-year-old Knoxville woman was killed when the vehicle in which she was a passenger careened off the road around 12:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Two young men in their 20s, survived, but were badly injured. One of those two, who had been driving the vehicle, had already had his license revoked. Authorities believe alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
While vacations are undoubtedly about indulging, drivers must be careful not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Sometimes, it's hard to be a good judge of when you've crossed the line, so the best rule is that if you've consumed any alcohol, wait to continue your trip until at least the next day. Better to get there late than never at all.
In addition to following all applicable traffic laws, anyone planning a road trip to or from Tennessee should bear in mind the following:
- Have your vehicle checked out before you go. Get the oil changed, have the tires rotated and checked for proper inflation, ensure belts and hoses are in good shape, get a tune-up, have your battery checked, make sure your lights are working, your windshield wipers are sharp, your cooling system is flushed and refilled and your fluid levels are adequate.
- Get plenty of rest. Driving drowsy can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Take frequent breaks and take turns driving.
- Plan your trip well in advance. At the very least, plug in the GPS or have your route mapped out before you start driving. If you get lost, pull over so you aren't trying to fiddle with the GPS or map while you're still driving.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get there. Factor in time for extra traffic and other unexpected delays. You don't want to feel pressured into speeding or aggressive driving or anything else that could potentially jeopardize your life or the lives of your passengers.
If you are involved in a Knoxville traffic accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. at (865) 524-5657.
Safety Advisory: NHTSA Encourages Motorists to be Prepared Before Heading Out on Summer Road Trips, June 4, 2013, Press Release, National Highway Traffic Safety Association
More Blog Entries:
Knoxville Motorcycle Crash Awareness Underscored in May, May 22, 2013, Knoxville Car Accident Lawyer Blog