Glenn Highway, especially near the Knik River Bridge, has an unfortunate history when it comes to motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. In March of 2014, one person died and five others were injured on the northbound side of the highway. This occurred when a pickup truck driving southbound crossed the median and ran head-on into an RV, later hitting a van. The highway was shut down, leading to traffic and complications on other roads throughout the area.
This Glenn Highway accident is just one example of the kind of accidents that happen around the Anchorage, Alaska, area, as well as the rest of the United States. The Seward highway in Girdwood has been the sight of far too many tragic crashes over the years. While the cause of the accident stated above was not mentioned in the news, it can be assumed that it occurred after some sort of lapse of concentration by the driver of the pickup truck. This lapse of concentration cost the life of one, injuries to five, and complications to many Alaskans. Unfortunately, these lapses are not a rare occurrence throughout the United States.
A lapse in concentration can stem from a variety of different factors, but there are certainly some that occur more often than others. For example, being distracted by a cell phone or some other sort of electronic device has been the cause of many accidents, and that number continues to rise. While this cell phone usage is the main thing that people think about when they hear the term “distracted driving”, there are many other distractions that are common, especially during certain times of the year.
With springtime already in full swing, there are a few different things that we need to watch out for, so that there are not more accidents like the one on Glenn Highway. Spring and summer can bring out many different distractions that we may not have seen in the winter months.
Children Playing Outside
With the nature of springtime, many children spend their time outside doing a variety of different activities; many kids play ball in the street, ride their bikes, play hide and seek, and partake in a variety of different games. Unfortunately, however, children very often disregard proper road safety when participating in these activities. This can result in kids unexpectantly running out into the road or riding their bike in an unsafe manner.
These habits pose a big threat for any driver, no matter how seasoned. They can sometimes be avoided, but unfortunately, there are times when unpredictable events can happen.. For example, a child may be safely riding their bike along the side of the road, but if they quickly fall, they may find themselves in the way of traffic. In a 2014 study done by Safe Kids Worldwide, 262 children ages 14 and under died within the year from outside of vehicle accidents. In a less fatal, yet still surprisingly high statistic, 92,000 children ages 14 and under are seen in emergency rooms for outside of vehicle accident injuries, based on annualized estimates from 2008 to 2010.
Children are not the only ones that like to be outside during the springtime. Many adults find themselves outside, whether or not they have children. Walking, jogging, walking their dog, and other springtime activities tend to get a lot of people out of the house, whether on the weekends or after work. With more people on the road, there are more dangers for drivers as well as pedestrians.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one crash-related pedestrian death happens every two hours, with an injury happening every seven minutes. Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passengers in the vehicle to be killed in a pedestrian related accident.
In a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most common timeframe for pedestrian related motor vehicle accidents is on the weekends between 6pm on midnight, but that does not mean that it doesn’t happen during other parts of the day as well. No matter what time of day you find yourself on the road, it is important to keep an eye out for pedestrians around you. While it is much easier for them to see you than it is for you to see them, you cannot always rely on the pedestrian to get out of the way or anticipate the accident.
When driving around bicyclists, drivers should take the same precautions as they do around pedestrians or active children. Bicyclists can be even more dangerous, however, because they can be very unpredictable, just like children. Even the most experience cyclists fall every once in a while, and it is often not predicted. When driving near a cyclist, it is important to always be aware of what they are doing, and always be prepared to correct. This often means avoiding a cyclist or taking extra precaution when passing.
With the smell of spring in the air, these things as well as others can pose a big threat to distracted drivers, not only across Alaska but also across the country. By being aware of the tendencies of different types of pedestrians, many different types of accidents can be avoided.
Distracted driving is a serious offense, and it can cause a driver to miss some of the happenings mentioned above. Imagine if the RV on Glenn Highway was instead a family celebrating the nice weather with a walk. The driver of the pickup truck would have still been distracted, and it could have resulted in even more fatalities than the actual incident.
While drivers can take all types of preventative measures to avoid distracted driving, and understand the activity in the world around them, motor vehicle accidents still do happen. If you or a loved one has been involved or injured in a car accident in the Anchorage, Alaska, area, reach out to an attorney. The lawyers at Kelley & Canterbury LLC have worked with many people in your situation. You do not need to go through this alone.