Capitol Heights Car Accidents
Capitol Heights, Maryland is in the middle of Prince George’s County, where the roads allow for an easy exit from Washington, DC. This part of Maryland is one of the most congested areas in the United States, and the road conditions are often difficult to manage. As drivers come through the area, they must be aware of how they can protect themselves and their families. A driver who travels through Capitol Heights needs to be aware of how congestion impacts their drive and how to deal with poor road conditions, bad weather, potentially intoxicated drivers, and distractions.
Drivers should speak to a Capitol Heights car accident lawyer as soon as possible when someone has been hurt or killed in a car accident. These accidents happen every day, and the alarmingly high number of crashes in Maryland alone should give drivers reason to take as many safety precautions as possible.
How Could a Driver Be Involved in a Car Accident in Capitol Heights?
Several incidents occur in the inner loop of I-95 every year. Drivers should keep in mind that I-95 runs from Maine to Florida, and there are many drivers simply passing through. Speeding drivers are trying to reach vacation destinations, workers are commuting, and large trucks must pass through the area to reach their final destinations. Drivers coming off the highway reach the streets of Capitol Heights, and a high level of traffic makes crashes much more likely. The following are accidents a driver could be involved in:
Speeding: Speed-induced accidents are so common, accounting for 26 percent of all crashes in the United States, that they could occur at any time while also involving other issues that might arise, including distraction, poor weather conditions, and poor road conditions. The easiest way to avoid these crashes is to slow down. Motorists must also be diligent when checking the roadway. When other drivers are speeding through traffic, it is best to get out of their way as quickly as possible. Someone who is willing to speed may also make reckless maneuvers that cause accidents.
Although drivers may believe that residential or rural roads are safe for speeding, pedestrians and bicyclists tend to ride the shoulders of these roads. Drivers who use the highway should move out of the left lane so that they do not feel tempted to drive even faster than they already are going. Because the I-95 corridor is so busy, drivers should also slow down to avoid getting pulled over because of an enhanced law enforcement presence on these roads.
Driving drunk or impaired: Driving under the influence (DUI) is not limited to drunk drivers, who should not get behind the wheel. Someone who only had a few drinks might seem as though they are safe to drive, but their reaction times are hampered, they often have blurred vision, and/or they are extremely tired. DUI also includes the use of prescription medications. For example, someone who recently passed a kidney stone may have been prescribed a strong painkiller. Some medications are extremely powerful, and patients are advised not to drive or operate heavy machinery. A well-meaning driver who is simply trying to cope with their pain could cause a crash and be charged with DUI.
Anyone who uses illegal drugs can also be charged with DUI. The level of intoxication someone can experience when using drugs is no different than someone who has been drinking. Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Maryland, and even someone who has been prescribed medical marijuana could be pulled over for DUI if their driving is impaired. Anyone who thinks they cannot drive should ask a designated driver to take them home. These drivers can also use ridesharing services to get home safely.
Large trucks: Large trucks pass through Capitol Heights because they are on I-95 or delivering to local businesses. These trucks range from cargo trucks and box trucks to tractor trailers that weigh tens of thousands of pounds. Drivers may have less control managing one of these vehicles due to its massive size.
Large trucks need more space to turn when traveling on surface streets, and drivers in passenger vehicles should stay away as much as possible. Drivers should not sit in a truck driver’s blind spot or cut off a large truck. It is important to remember that large truck drivers also tend to slow down or stop at railroad crossings. These drivers will pull over in inclement weather, or they might stop and sleep on the shoulder.
Large trucks also pull over into weighing stations or must slow down and stop to maintain control of large loads. Other drivers should give these trucks more room to move. If a large truck driver weaves through traffic, local authorities should be called as quickly as possible.
Pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles: Pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles are impossible to see in the dark, and move through lanes where cars and trucks can drive. For example, pedestrians use crosswalks while traffic is moving around them. Pedestrians are even in crosswalks when vehicles can turn left through the crosswalk. Drivers must be extremely careful, and pedestrians should not cross until they have a signal to do so.
Bicyclists often ride the shoulder, on the edge of the rightmost lane, or in a dedicated bicycle lane. These dedicated bicycle lanes are often the most dangerous places to be because they give bicyclists a false sense of security. Drivers often do not notice they are driving across a bicycle lane until it is too late, and both parties should slow down, signal, and give each other more room to move. Drivers might also want to pass bicyclists on the shoulder, but they must give the bicyclist plenty of room without cutting them off.
Motorcyclists might decide to drive in between cars when stuck in traffic, or they might move so fast that they are difficult to see. Motorcyclists might also crash into drivers upon entering the road or turning. This is especially true when a driver is planning to turn right and does not see a motorcyclist who has chosen to sneak past them on the right.
Accidents at intersections: Intersection accidents often occur when a driver has run through a stop light, blown through a stop sign, or proceeded without looking both ways. Some people fail to yield when it is clear there is another vehicle in the intersection, or the intersection can become even more dangerous when pedestrians are crossing, traffic is coming the other way, and someone is turning left. There might even be confusion about who can proceed in an intersection.
Are Poor Road Conditions a Major Concern for Drivers?
Poor road conditions in Prince George’s County may be caused, in part, by drivers cutting through the community. As roads across the county are used more often to alleviate congestion, the road surface will suffer. Although this is a problem that drivers cannot solve, it is worth noting. If drivers are on bad roads, they need to slow down, knowing that one large pothole or bump could throw them from their lane, cause them to make erratic lane changes, and/or cause accidents.
Bad weather in the region also contributes to deteriorating road conditions as the harsh winters make way for rain in the spring. Asphalt roads in the area go through constant temperature changes, and they are more likely to crack or buckle as a result. Even a parking lot can become more dangerous when it has too many potholes or cracks.
How Do Drivers Avoid Multi-Vehicle Accidents or Accidents on Congested Roads?
Drivers on congested roads often believe they cannot get into accidents because they are not moving fast enough to be involved in a crash. Aside from the fact that injury accidents can occur at low speeds, drivers should slow down because they are often in heavy traffic that is moving quickly. No one has anywhere to go if they must make an evasive maneuver, and these drivers could cause multi-car accidents if they need to make emergency stops or if a large truck slides and/or jackknifes.
Drivers should keep their eyes on the road, take alternate routes whenever possible, and leave the house earlier than normal. Someone who needs to get somewhere in 30 minutes and allows only 30 minutes for travel might drive too fast or cause accidents as they cut through traffic. If a negligent driver has caused an accident in heavy traffic, the victim should contact a car accident lawyer for more assistance.
Should Someone Drive in Bad Weather Conditions?
When drivers leave the house in heavy rain, wind, hurricanes or tropical storms, fog, ice, or snow, severe accidents are more likely to occur. Maryland has one of the most diverse mixes of weather in the United States. Fall hurricanes and tropical storms can dump inches of rain on the road, and spring showers can saturate the ground or cause floods.
Icy or snow-covered roads are common in the winter, and fog is common in the morning. Drivers should ensure that it is safe to drive before they get on the road. If the driveway is too icy, it needs to be cleared before leaving the house. Ice on the roads might be worse than drivers expected, and they should pull over and engage their hazard lights. Someone who is still at work when it is snowing or raining extremely hard might also consider staying in the office until conditions change or someone else can pick them up.
Drivers must make their best efforts to avoid poor weather conditions, but they could be injured by a negligent driver who has not slowed down or taken the necessary precautions before getting behind the wheel. Victims should speak to a car accident lawyer in the aftermath of these accidents.
How can Motorists Avoid Distracted Driving Accidents?
Distracted driving accidents claim approximately nine lives every day in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The following tips can be used to create a distraction-free environment in the car. Drivers must take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of those around them.
Hands-free systems: A hands-free or Bluetooth system allows drivers to sync their phones to their cars. Some vehicles even have a command screen on the dash that allows the driver to control everything in the car from one place. When the driver gets a call, they can press one button and talk freely. They can also dictate text messages or emails if they should respond to those messages immediately. Drivers can keep their eyes on the road, speak slowly, or talk without picking up the phone.
Phone stand: A phone stand is a simple way to hang the phone on the dash where the screen is easy to see. Someone who is listening to directions come through the hands-free system can also see the map on the screen without holding the phone. Some phone stands have been designed to sit on top of the dashboard if the driver would prefer that angle. Keeping phones out of the hands of drivers can cut down on accidents. Additionally, the Bluetooth or hands-free system can read the directions through the car’s speakers.
Do Not Disturb: A driver can set the phone to Do Not Disturb to avoid distractions, and can check all phone messages, texts, and emails when they stop driving.
Reduce the noise: Drivers should try to reduce noise in the vehicle as much as possible by turning down their radios to ensure that they can hear sirens or other noises. Although drivers believe they drive only with their eyes, they can hear horns and engines that indicate another driver is close by. Also, drivers should not use headphones while behind the wheel. When the driver is using headphones, they often cannot focus their full attention on the road. Driving while using headphones is illegal in some jurisdictions.
How Should Aggressive Drivers Be Handled?
Avoiding potentially fatal accidents is simple when drivers avoid reckless and/or aggressive behavior. Aggressive drivers often push through traffic, cut off other drivers, flash their high beams, and honk their horns. Motorists should allow these drivers to pass and call the local authorities to report this behavior. Drivers should also offer more stopping distance for themselves. A car traveling at 20 miles per hour can come to a complete stop in about 20 feet, but a car going 40 miles per hour needs 80 feet to stop. Anyone who leaves more stopping distance has more time for emergency stops, evasive maneuvers, or change lanes. A driver should do this for the safety of other drivers and passengers in the car.
How Will Victims Be Compensated if a Lawsuit is Filed?
Drivers who are injured or lose loved ones in car accidents can file suit against the at-fault driver or entity for damages, including:
- All hospital and doctors’ costs
- Any lost wages as a result of missed work or a career change necessitated by the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Although other drivers are most often to blame for accidents, faulty vehicles, construction sites, and even road debris can cause accidents. If a driver swerves around a massive bundle of lumber that has fallen off a cargo truck, the company that manages the truck is liable for that accident. Third-party lawsuits may also be filed against the manufacturers of defective vehicles or parts, construction companies, and/or municipal governments.
A lawyer can also file a wrongful death lawsuit against the guilty party. The executor of the deceased’s estate, their heir, or immediate family can file suit to recover damages after someone’s death, including coverage for final expenses. All available compensation should be reviewed when consulting with a lawyer.
Do Accident Victims Need a Lawyer?
Accident victims and their families need a lawyer who can support them during this difficult time. Accident victims and family members have information that should be shared with a lawyer. For example, victims and witnesses are asked to do the following:
- Call 911.
- Collect pictures and/or videos of the accident scene.
- Get a copy of the police report.
- Call the insurance company to report the accident.
- Seek medical attention right away.
- Call an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
A lawyer knows how to use all the information from the accident to create a case that should recover compensation. A lawyer is looking for a specific level of compensation, and they also talk to the family about how that compensation can be provided. This means that the family may begin negotiating with the responsible party or parties.
If the family can reach a settlement with their lawyer’s assistance, the case will be closed. If a lawyer believes the case should go to trial, the family will be asked to testify or attend for moral support. If the case is not judged in a favorable manner, a lawyer can also appeal the case. The Court of Appeals for the state of Maryland can hear the case where the family’s lawyer will argue the case once again. The family is given legal support until they have exhausted all their options or received the compensation they are owed.
Capitol Heights Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Assist Victims of Car Accidents
If you were involved in a car accident, reach out to the Capitol Heights car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our team investigates and determines liability in car accidents every day. We are committed to providing individualized attention to every client that we represent. Call us at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Located in Washington, DC, we work with car accident victims throughout Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.