Car accidents, particularly broadside collisions, can quickly put a damper on your day. A broadside collision can cause serious injury to everyone in the vehicle, particularly passengers on the side where the collision occurs. Do you know the most common sites of broadside collisions in West Palm Beach? Read on for more information.
About Broadside Collisions
Broadside collisions, also known as T-bone accidents, occur when the front of one vehicle slams into the side of another vehicle. Broadside collisions can cause particular injury to the passengers in the vehicle hit on the side, which may make them more dangerous than other types of collisions.
Most cars have substantial protection at the front and rear: a lot of metal that can crumple before it actually hits the passengers in the vehicle. A broadside collision, however, strikes the side of the vehicle, where thinner layers of protection may result in more direct force applied to the passengers. Crumpling metal in the door and sides of the vehicle may also result in severe injuries.
Broadside collisions may result in a variety of severe injuries. Many victims suffer from broken bones, particularly on the side hit by the other vehicle. Broadside collisions can also result in substantial crushing damage to the victim’s limbs, which may result in the need for limb amputation later.
Broadside collisions may also result in:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe lacerations, including facial lacerations
Where Do Broadside Collisions Occur Most Often in West Palm Beach?
Broadside collisions can occur due to a variety of factors. Most often, these types of collisions take place in intersections, as one vehicle travels too fast through the intersection or fails to yield right of way. Broadside collisions can also, however, occur elsewhere on the road, particularly if a driver swerves hard into oncoming traffic. Several challenges can increase the risk of a broadside collision as well as the risk of serious injuries.
Some intersections have a much higher risk of contributing to broadside collisions than others. Dangerous intersections may have very poor visibility, which makes it hard for the liable driver to see traffic coming from another direction. Some intersections may have poor signage.
In some cases, dangerous intersections might just occur in the wrong place: for example, some drivers travel faster through specific intersections or down specific roads than they do in other areas. Some intersections also occur near bars and restaurants, which may increase the risk of a drunk driver plowing through the intersection.
Some of the most dangerous intersections in West Palm Beach include:
- Okeechobee and Military, where many people run red lights due to extended red light length
- South Military Trail and Forest Hill Boulevard
- South Jog Road and Forest Hill Boulevard
- South Jog and Lake Worth Road in Greenacres
- North Jog Road and Okeechobee Boulevard
- Southern Boulevard and State Road 7, which has an unusual design with multiple left-turn lanes and can, as a result, pose serious challenges for many drivers
- Glades Road and South State Road 7
- South Military Trail and West Atlantic Avenue, where a heavy amount of bike traffic increases the risk of many types of accidents
Throughout West Palm Beach, changes to street design might impact some of these dangerous intersections, decreasing the risk of serious accidents. In many cases, however, these intersections count as some of the most dangerous intersections in the area not because of the direct design of the intersection, but due to the actions of the drivers who use them most regularly.
Drunk drivers often struggle with reaction times and decision-making behind the wheel: two challenges that can make navigating intersections more dangerous and increase the risk of broadside collisions. Drunk drivers often have a hard time determining when they might need to stop at an intersection. An inebriated driver might have a higher risk of sailing through a red light or stop sign without ever looking at oncoming traffic, both of which can significantly raise the odds of a broadside collision.
Drunk drivers may also suffer from blurred vision or tunnel vision, which may make it more difficult for them to see other drivers in an intersection. Slowed reaction times can also reduce drivers’ ability to avoid a collision once they do notice that vehicle—and sometimes, drunken interference with reflexes may mean that the driver slams on the gas instead of the brake, increasing the force of the collision.
Because of the high number of vacationing visitors to the West Palm Beach area each year, the area may see more drunk drivers than it would otherwise. Many people on vacation drink more than they would normally, and they may have a harder time judging how much alcohol they have consumed, particularly when they have allowed some time to pass since their last drinks.
High rates of speed substantially increase the risk of all types of accidents, including broadside collisions. At a high rate of speed, drivers may have a hard time slowing appropriately as they approach an intersection, especially if they do not note an upcoming stop sign or stoplight. As a result, high rates of speed may substantially increase the risk of a severe broadside collision. Unfortunately, traffic in West Palm Beach may often travel at high rates of speed, resulting in a more substantial accident risk as those drivers pass through intersections.
Drowsy drivers show many of the same symptoms as drunk drivers, including losing track of what happens on the road around them or generally failing to follow the rules of the road. Drowsy drivers may completely miss an intersection, including the accompanying signage, as they come up to it. They may go straight through the intersection without pause, regardless of the presence of another vehicle in the intersection.
Drowsy drivers may also entirely fall asleep behind the wheel, which may raise the risk of a serious collision. When a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, the vehicle has no one to control it, and may travel forward until it meets resistance—often including another vehicle. Drowsy drivers may not lift their feet from the gas pedals, so collisions with them may occur at high speeds. In West Palm Beach, many drowsy drivers arrive late in the evening as they come into town ready to get started with a vacation. Vacationers may also head out later at night more often than people who know that they have to wake up early for work, which means that they may throw their sleep cycles off and struggle to maintain safe driving practices as they move through roads and intersections.
Running Red Lights and Stop Signs
Traffic signals exist to create a safe flow of traffic through intersections. They help designate who has the right of way, including who has the right to move through the intersection next and what steps they should take to stay safe on the road. Some drivers, however, completely ignore those traffic signals. Sometimes, they run red lights because they feel that they have waited too long for the light to change. Drivers who have waited a long time for a light to change may feel that they can move freely through traffic or that they have a clear shot at moving through the intersection, only to plow straight into another vehicle.
Often, West Palm Beach drivers may run red lights and stop signs because they do not notice their presence before the incident. The heavy amount of tourist traffic in West Palm Beach means that many people do not have more than passing familiarity with the area, which means even the slightest amount of distraction may cause them to fail to notice the presence of a traffic signal.
Like drunk or drowsy drivers, distracted drivers may have a hard time keeping up with everything that happens around them, which can cause them to drive straight through an intersection and plow into another vehicle. Driver distraction typically takes one of three forms: manual distraction, which takes the driver’s hands off of the wheel; cognitive distraction, which places the driver’s attention on something other than the road; and visual distraction, which takes the driver’s eyes away from the road.
Distraction occurs commonly throughout West Palm Beach. Many vacationing drivers rely on GPS devices to get around, which can pose a potent distraction, especially if drivers try to program those devices in the middle of the road. Others may choose to use their cell phones to connect with friends and family in the area, even while behind the wheel. While Florida law does not prohibit cell phone use unless in school zones or work zones, if those distractions cause a broadside collision, the distracted driver may bear liability for the incident.
Failure to Yield Right of Way
Determining liability in a broadside collision may include taking a look at which driver had right of way at the time of the accident. Often, a driver may ignore the right of way or fail to yield, frequently as a result of agitation or impatience. As a result, the driver may end up causing a broadside collision with a vehicle that did have right of way.
Failure to yield may also result in broadside collisions on highways and interstates, particularly as drivers attempt to merge into traffic. Some drivers try to force their way into the lane of traffic despite not having enough room, resulting in serious broadside collisions at a high rate of speed.
What to Do After a Broadside Collision
A broadside collision may leave you disoriented and, in many cases, with severe injuries. However, the steps you take in the immediate aftermath of the accident can help protect you financially and physically.
1. Always report the accident.
Broadside collisions, in particular, often result in severe vehicle damage and serious injuries. Always report broadside collisions, even if you think you did not suffer serious injuries or if the liable driver has a sob story that causes them to insist you have no reason to report the accident. Failure to report an accident can make it much more difficult for you to later file a personal injury claim against the liable driver. The accident report will also contain vital information like the other driver’s name, the vehicle he drove, and his insurance information, which can help you as you later pursue a personal injury claim.
2. Seek medical attention, even if you do not think that you suffered serious injuries.
Broadside collisions often result in broken bones on the side where the accident took place. They can also result in serious injuries, including traumatic brain injury, to other passengers in the vehicle. Some people, however, walk away from the accident scene assuming that they did not sustain serious injury when in reality they have broken bones that require medical attention. A medical provider can evaluate all of your injuries and make sure you receive the treatment you need. Furthermore, having your injuries seen can provide you with evidence of when they took place, which can later help you file a car accident claim.
3. Contact a West Palm Beach car accident attorney to learn more about your potential right to compensation after a broadside collision.
If you suffered serious injuries in a broadside collision in West Palm Beach, do not try to handle it alone. You may struggle to get the liable driver’s insurance company to take you seriously or even ultimately miss out on some or all of the compensation for which you qualify to recover. A car accident attorney can help ensure that you understand the true value of your claim and fight to help you obtain it following your car accident.
Contact a West Palm Beach car accident attorney as soon after your accident as possible to maximize the assistance you can receive and increase the odds that you will recover maximum compensation given your specific circumstances.