Are Car Accidents Common in Heavy Traffic?

Everyone hates being held up by heavy traffic. No one likes to sit in traffic jams, especially when there is more of a risk that car accidents can happen. Traffic jams in which all the vehicles are at a standstill are relatively safe. It is when the traffic is slow moving or when the traffic stops and starts where the risk of a car accident is greatest. Then you add the fact that many drivers are annoyed and aggravated to begin with because of the traffic jam, which increases their aggressive driving behavior. The whole scene is a recipe for disaster, and that is why accidents are common in heavy traffic.

Main Causes of Car Accidents in Heavy Traffic

The main type of car accidents that are seen in heavy traffic are rear-end collisions. There are many causes why a vehicle that is traveling in heavy traffic hits the car in front of them. Here are some of the main causes of rear-end car accidents when traveling in heavy traffic:

Distracted driving. People not paying attention to what is in front of them is a major cause of rear-end accidents. Drivers can be distracted by many things. All it takes is just a few seconds of distraction and taking your eyes off the road in front to cause a rear-end collision. While driving, a motorist can be distracted by changing the radio, eating, or talking to a passenger in the vehicle. One of the significant causes of distraction started with the introduction of the smartphone. It is easy to pull your phone out and check your texts, emails, and other things on social media. Some people are addicted to it and do not even realize they are checking their phones half the time. Obviously, this creates a danger in looking down at your phone and not at the road.

Impaired driving. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous no matter what type of traffic. When traffic is heavy, there is much more of a chance of crashing into other vehicles if the drunk driver loses control. When drivers are under the influence, their motor skills are affected. Their ability to steer correctly is lowered. Their ability to stop quickly is lowered. There is more of a risk that the drunk driver will fall asleep while behind the wheel. Also, when someone is intoxicated, their judgment is affected. They may do things that are more dangerous to themselves and others when they are drunk. These are actions that they would never take when sober.

Falling asleep at the wheel. Falling asleep or dozing off behind the wheel is another problem that can happen no matter what type of traffic there is. When it is done on a busy highway, it is extra dangerous. When the traffic is heavy but everyone is still traveling the speed limit or even higher, all it takes is dozing off for a few seconds to start swerving into the other lane. When traffic is heavy, there is a higher risk of hitting another vehicle and causing a huge pile-up crash in which dozens of vehicles are involved. Every year, there are news stories about pile-up car accidents in which dozens of vehicles are involved. Usually, those accidents are initially caused by one single negligent action, such as someone falling asleep at the wheel briefly.

Speeding and aggressive driving. Speeding and aggressive driving go hand in hand when driving in heavy traffic. Drivers are often frustrated with the stop-and-go traffic and drive recklessly and aggressively. Sometimes, this behavior causes automobile accidents. Often, this is where you will see sideswipe accidents from switching lanes quickly without looking. Also, a situation such as this is where you will often see rear-end accidents because of aggressive drivers going too fast and not being able to stop in time.

Road rage incidents. Because of the frustration and anger that some drivers experience because of the heavy traffic, there are more road rage incidents. Drivers who cannot control their anger will take it out on other drivers. Sometimes car accidents are intentionally caused from this anger.

Tailgating. One of the main causes of collisions during heavy traffic is tailgating, or driving too close to the vehicle ahead of you. During stop-and-go traffic, if you are too close to the vehicle ahead of you, the ability to stop in time is a fraction of a second. If you are not paying attention, you can easily rear-end the vehicle in front of you. If you leave several car lengths’ distance from you and the vehicle ahead of you, then this will allow you to stop in time when traffic slows down again.

What Should You Do if You Are Hit by Another Car in Heavy Traffic?

If you are in heavy traffic and are struck by another vehicle because of the negligence of the other driver, there are certain things that you should do to protect yourself and your passengers. The main thing to focus on is that you do not want to cause extra personal injury to the occupants of your car and extra damage to your vehicle through secondary collisions. Here are some things to consider:

  • Pull over. If possible, pull over to the side of the road in a safe location. This will help prevent secondary collisions because of the heavy traffic and the number of vehicles zipping by you. If you cannot pull over to the side of the road because of too much damage to your vehicle, get out of the vehicle and get off the road to a safe place. If you remain in your vehicle, there is a good chance that you may get hit again by another vehicle traveling too fast and not being able to stop.
  • Call 911 immediately. The sooner the police can get to the accident scene, the better. Not only can they help investigate the accident and determine how it happened and who was at fault, but also a police officer can direct traffic. Because some of the dangers after a crash in heavy traffic are secondary collisions, the sooner a police officer can get to the accident scene, the more they can prevent new collisions.
  • Take photos. It is important to take pictures or videos of the damage to your car and the damage to any other vehicle involved in the accident. Also, take pictures of the total scene of the crash site so that these pictures can be used later at trial, if necessary.
  • See a medical doctor as soon as possible. This is very important. If you are feeling pain, swelling, or limitations of movement, you need to see a doctor. Do not wait a week or so to see if the pain will go away. The sooner you get a diagnosis from a doctor, the better. Not only will you get on the road to recovery faster, but also seeing a doctor right away will support your case.
  • Contact an experienced car accident lawyer. The sooner you contact an experienced car accident attorney, the sooner they can begin representing you and investigating the case. Do not call just any lawyer. Contact a law firm that has the knowledge and skills to handle difficult car accident cases. You will want to have a law firm that focuses their practice on helping people who have been seriously injured in accidents.

If you focus on these few tips after an accident, you will be in a better position and will be closer to recovering compensation for your injuries.


Baltimore Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Focus on Helping Clients Injured in Car Accidents

If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses and pain and suffering. The Baltimore accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton know what it takes to successfully represent people seriously injured in car accidents. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.