Single vehicle accidents happen far too often. In Oklahoma alone, nearly a dozen crashes involving just one car have resulted in injuries or fatalities this year alone. An accident near McAlester killed a Texas man in clear weather on dry roads; a Eufaula woman was pinned in her vehicle after it left the roadway and struck a tree in the early morning; a crash and resulting vehicle fire in mid-afternoon left one dead. The circumstances are always different, and, at least in these particular crashes, alcohol was not a factor. These types of accidents almost always have more questions than answers.
What causes single vehicle accidents?
We recently wrote about the disturbing increase in traffic fatalities over the past few years; most authorities are attributing that increase to more vehicles on the road and distracted drivers. However, even when driver error is acknowledged as the primary cause of single vehicle crashes, there are still a vast number of incidents that go unexplained. We all know someone who never uses a cellphone and doesn’t even break the speed limit, but even perfect drivers can be victims of the single vehicle crash. So if it wasn’t driver error, what could it be?
When driver error is excluded as a cause, there are several standout factors that remain capable of contributing to a car accident, and each one is utterly beyond the control of the driver to change. They include:
- Poor roadway maintenance. Potholes, uneven lanes, improper markings, and even missing signs can result in loss of vehicle control for even the most experienced drivers. In addition, rough driving conditions can cause mechanical problems in even the best-maintained vehicles, which leads to…
- Bad vehicle maintenance. While this can include a vehicle owner’s failure to make timely repairs or perform proper maintenance, it can also include unscrupulous or lazy mechanics, manufacturer defects and even just one bad bolt that fails at the wrong moment. Speaking of wrong moments…
- Poor weather conditions. Opting to drive in inclement weather isn’t always an exercise in bad judgment. Sometimes, though, small storms gather strength in a hurry, or cloudbursts come out of a clear blue sky. Visibility can be reduced to zero in an instant, and by the time the vehicle is found, there may be no evidence that a squall ever happened.
- Unknown factors. There are other, more mundane incidents that can cause anyone to lose control; an unexpected object on the road, the sudden presence of a stinging insect inside the car, even an ill-timed cough or sneeze can be disastrous when driving a vehicle at speed.
Regardless of the cause, an article on Forbes.com suggests that the single-vehicle crash is the most dangerous of all:
“When it comes to fatality rates, the most dangerous collision on the road isn’t getting rammed head-on by another car or T-boned from the side. It’s the single-vehicle crash. One in five crashes involve single-vehicle roadway departures, according to the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. More than 8,000 people die in single-vehicle rollover crashes in the United States each year.”
The best way to avoid a single vehicle crash is to be a safe and conscientious driver. However, even the best drivers can’t control mechanical defects or badly maintained roads. When factors beyond your control cause serious injury, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and losses sustained as a result of others’ negligence. The experienced Oklahoma car accident attorney at Stipe Law can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you need. For a free consultation, call (918) 505-7741 or contact us today.