Statistics collected by Transport Canada and others might suggest a link between traffic congestion and some of the 150,000 injury-causing traffic accidents in 2014 (last year for which accident data is available). More than 25% of accidents throughout Canada were rear end collisions. A close second were accidents at intersections and those involving turning vehicles that made up almost 24% of all accidents.
The leading causes of traffic accidents during rush hour and how to avoid them
Based upon the types of accidents occurring on roads and highways, the following contributing factors stand out:
- Distracted driving: Anything diverting a driver’s attention from maintaining control of the vehicle or observing others using the roadways is a distraction. Be sure to avoid texting while driving, talking on a cellphone, programing a vehicle’s GPS or any other action that can distract you from the task of driving.
- Fatigue: Someone who is tired and stuck in rush hour traffic poses a danger to other drivers. It could cause the driver to be slow-to-react and have difficulty maintaining control of a vehicle. The driver could also misjudge or fail to react to changing traffic conditions and cause an accident. If you feel too tired to drive, you should stop and rest until you feel comfortable taking the wheel.
- Aggressive behaviour: Being stuck in traffic can be frustrating. Some drivers allow their frustrations to turn into aggressive behaviour toward others on the road. This can pose a danger to everyone. Try and remain calm at all times behind the wheel. Stop and take a break if you feel you need to.
- Driving under the influence: Impaired judgment and reflexes are dangerous in the congestion of rush hour traffic. In Canada, the maximum legal BAC for fully licensed drivers is80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters of blood (0.08). Driving with BAC over 0.08 is a criminal offence. The simplest way to avoid being over the limit therefore is to abstain completely from drinking alcohol. If you consumed alcohol, you should plan another way to get home.
- Failure to obey stop signs and traffic lights: Drivers who are in a hurry can become frustrated at the slow pace caused by traffic congestion and be tempted to ignore traffic signals. This can lead to terrible accidents. Keep your eyes and mind on the road and obey road signs at all times.
- Failing to yield to pedestrians: While stuck in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, some drivers might look for ways to make up for time lost, such as failing to yield to pedestrians. Follow crosswalk safety laws and always check your blind spots before turning.
Motorists engaging in any of these behaviours regardless of the traffic conditions increase their risk of being involved in a collision with another motor vehicle. When drivers act irresponsibly during rush hour, they increase the likelihood of causing injury to others.
Cantini Law|Droit has 30 years of experience advocating for clients who have suffered injuries in a car accident. If you have been injured following a motor vehicle accident, Contact Us for your free interview.