- Top 9 Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents are a leading cause of injury among Florida residents. As we near tourist season, the North Port area can expect to see increasingly busy roads full of tourists; and this increase in traffic typically precedes an increase in accidents.
There are many causes for car accidents, some mechanical and some circumstantial. Here are the top causes according to statistics:
Top 5 Mechanical Causes of Car Accident
Many car accidents could be avoided if cars were properly maintained. To keep your car as safe as possible on the road, be sure to keep these items checked and working well.
- Brakes: Brake pads which need replacement typically screech or scrape when the brake pedal is depressed. Another sign of needed maintenance is if the brake pedal feels soft, slowly sinks to the floor of the car, or the vehicle pulls to one side or another when brakes are employed.
- Tires: With normal use, tires should last 5 to 6 years. However, hitting curbs or driving over potholes can weaken the tire, causing it to blow out. Loos or air pressure or worn tread are also signs that your tires need replacing. A worn tire tread cannot grip the road during our Florida rainstorms.
- Headlights: It is clear why having two functional headlights is necessary to stay safe; night driving and driving through inclement weather is exceptionally hazardous should visibility be compromised. Check both headlights and taillights regularly.
- Steering Column: Steering wheels may begin to vibrate at higher speeds, or even lock on occasion. Both situations require maintenance. If the car is pulling to one side or the other, it could be either the steering wheel or the tires.
- Windshield Wipers: If you are noticing large areas that are missed by your wipers, or if their usage causes streaks, it is time to replace the wipers. Bad wipers can significantly affect your visibility.
Top 4 Behavioral Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents happen more frequently due to the person behind the wheel than mechanical issues. Here are the top causes of driver error which cause car accident injury.
- Distracted Driving: The proliferation of smartphones caused this category to rise significantly, mostly due to texting and driving. However, talking on the phone, eating or drinking, or changing the radio station can also be causes of a distracted driving accident.
- Drunk Driving: Laws and societal pressures and awareness have lowered the incidents of drunk driving considerably, but it is still a major cause of car accidents in South Florida.
- Speeding: Speeding is especially dangerous on wet and crowded roads, and we have plenty of both. Without enough reaction time, speeding can cause serious accidents and significant injury.
- Running Red Lights and Stop Signs: Running through these signals is clearly dangerous, as cars traveling in cross traffic are not expecting you to barrel into the intersection. Reckless driving in this manner is the cause of many car accidents, especially when paired with distracted driving.
Regardless of the reason for the car accident, the impact can often cause serious trauma to the body. Whether whiplash or other related neck and back pain, be sure to call West Coast Wellness after your car accident. Chiropractic care is the most natural, safe and effective way to realign your spine and get back to health after these types of injuries. Don’t wait to relieve your pain. We are open for same-day appointments.
- Do You Have Whiplash? Here’s How To Know
Car accidents are a common occurrence, and nearly everyone has been in some form of accident at one point in their life. You may have heard that one of the most common injuries suffered in traffic mishaps is whiplash, but you may not understand exactly what whiplash is.
In this blog we will discuss all you need to know about this common ailment, to help you determine both if you have whiplash, and what you can do to treat it safely and effectively.
What is Whiplash?
Whiplash is a neck injury which is caused by a rapid, forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck. It’s name is derived from the fact that the movement resembles the cracking of a whip. This motion can cause injury in multiple areas, including the bones in the spine, the disks located between the bones, as well as ligaments, muscles, tissues and nerves of the neck.
This condition typically occurs when the patient is involved in a rear-end traffic accident. But an individual can also experience whiplash after a sports injury, such as a football tackle, or other type of trauma, such as a fall. It can also occur if an individual is punched or shaken forcibly. Most people with whiplash will heal within a few weeks if properly treated, but some experience long-term complications and chronic neck pain.
Is it Whiplash?
Many people do not think they have whiplash if it doesn’t appear immediately after the car accident. However, this condition can manifest days and even weeks after a trauma – although it is most common for symptoms to show up within several days. Signs that you may be experiencing whiplash include neck pain and stiffness, limited range of motion in the neck, headaches which originate at the base of the skull, tingling or loss of feeling in the arms, pain in the shoulder of upper back, pain in the neck which worsens when the neck is moved, fatigue and dizziness.
Less common symptoms may include blurred vision, sleep disturbances, difficulty with focus and concentration, ringing in the ears, irritability, memory issues and depression.
Complications You May Experience
As stated, the majority of people who recognize and treat their whiplash can feel better within a few weeks. Even more importantly, these people also rarely have long-lasting effects or chronic pain stemming from the injury.
However, some individuals do continue to suffer pain and discomfort for months or even years after the trauma took place. While there is no sure way to know which scenario you will experience, those who endure long-term pain typically had an immediate, intense onset of symptoms including severe neck pain, extremely limited range of motion, and pain that spread to the arms.
Those who were in a high speed car accident are more likely to suffer severe whiplash or complications from the condition. Other risk factors include having had whiplash on a prior occasion or existing low back or neck pain prior to the accident. The older the patient, the more likely they will experience complications as well.
While many will quickly turn to pain medications and at-home exercises and stretches, you may want to consider calling a chiropractor for treatment. Chiropractic techniques will safely and naturally realign your spine and relieve pain. The goal is to heal the source of the pain, not just mask the pain.
If you suspect you may be suffering from whiplash, call the professionals at West Coast Wellness today.
- 7 Reasons To See a Chiropractor After An Accident
After a car accident, people often suffer aches and pains for days and weeks. They continually reach for the OTC pain reliever, thinking it is the only way to get relief. But as days wear on, and the pain isn’t going away, it may be time to consider another option.
Chiropractic care is a holistic and natural approach to many of the injuries commonly suffered in a car accident. In fact, seeking care immediately following an accident – even if you do not feel symptoms right away – is one of the best ways to prevent long term injury and discomfort.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care
- Reduce Inflammation: When someone is in a car accident, the impact may cause micro-tears in the ligaments and muscles. Often people experience severe pain after an accident, but are baffled as to why, because the x-rays looked normal. (Micro-tears cannot typically be seen on an X-ray.) The spinal manipulation which a doctor of chiropractic performs realigns the spinal cord, allowing your body to release an anti-inflammatory which will reduce inflammation caused by these injuries, as well as relieve pain.
- Enjoy Non-Invasive Care: After a car accident, seeking immediate chiropractic care to realign the spine and joints will not only relieve your pain, but may promote enough healing to avoid later surgeries. As chiropractic treatments are non-invasive, avoiding surgery would be a powerful benefit.
- Reduce Scar Tissue: After an injury, scar tissue often forms on the injured muscles. Scar tissue will cause stiffness and makes life very uncomfortable for a patient. A chiropractor can target these areas and break up the scar tissue, providing relief and faster healing.
- Relief Without Medication: Pain relief medications only mask the symptoms of injury. They do not heal damage done to your body. In fact, some prescription pain medications are highly addictive and could cause even greater issues. But even over the counter medications can cause health issues for some. Chiropractic care provides pain relief without having to resort to any type of medication.
- Get Overall Relief: Spinal manipulations and adjustments will not only reduce the pain from the car crash injury, but the pain-reducing hormone that is released during these treatments will help with any minor ache or pain you may be experiencing, whatever the cause.
- Avoid Long Term Issues and Pain: The typical injuries sustained after even a minor car accident can become much more serious if left untreated over a long period of time. For instance, whiplash can typically be healed in a couple or weeks with chiropractic care, but may linger for years if not addressed. Over time, the physical and emotional pain of chronic pain can take its toll.
- Restores Normal Range of Motion: The inflammation which occurs after many neck or back injuries causes more problems than the injury itself. The inflammation blocks your blood, carrying nutrients your body needs to heal, from reaching the injury. This makes it difficult to move normally. A spinal adjustment mobilizes your spine, restoring range of motion and allowing a faster healing process to take place.
An added benefit of seeking immediate chiropractic treatment is that you will have the diagnosis and treatment records you’ll need to successfully file an insurance claim.
At West Coast Wellness, we specialize in the treatment of car accident injuries. If you have been in a car accident, no matter how minor, your body may have suffered trauma which can cause pain and discomfort. Don’t suffer a day longer than you need to – call West Coast Wellness today.
- Working Ergonomically During the Pandemic
The concept of working from home was becoming more common on its own, but the introduction of the COVID-19 crisis moved millions of employees suddenly home. This sudden move proved to many companies that the arrangement was not only productive, but it could save them money. As businesses have now been given the ok to reopen, a growing number of them are choosing to allow their employees to stay home more often.
All of these stay-at-home employees find themselves in a vastly different work environment, and may kick up their heels on the coffee table or sit in their favorite recliner to get their job done. Unfortunately, the ergonomic realities which keep your neck and back healthy through long work days exist at home as well.
If you have recently begun working from home – or you simply need some relief – here are some tips to help you minimize or eliminate back and neck pain .
- To properly align your head while working, position your computer screen at eye level. Protect your neck fromharmful curvatures by avoiding looking down at your cell phone or Ipad all day. Position these devices at eye level as well, or use your elbows to prop up your arms so that the device is in front of your face. Although this may seem like a small step,your head weighs 12 + pounds , and constantly dropping it down to your chest causes a lot of weight and pressure on the neck and spine.
- Your arms should be positioned comfortably at your sides with your elbows bent at approximately 90 degrees. Keeping wrists neutral and parallel to the floor matt be easier with a plug-n-play keyboard.
- In order to protect your back, make sure your feet are touching the floor. If you cannot touch the floor, consider a box or stool to elevate your feet and to keep your legs in the proper position. Keep your knees bent at 90 degrees or slightly extended. Do not cross your legs, Slouching or resting your feet on the rungs can cause back strain. A lumbar pillow can help with proper positioning if you cannot invest in an ergonomically designed chair.
Additional Tips to Save Your Neck & Back
- Change your sleeping position: If you sleep on your stomach, chances are your neck is being strained by resting turned to the side all night. Try instead to sleep on your back with pillows under your knees, or on either side with a pillow between your knees. The pillows help to relieve pressure and support your spine’s natural curvature. Make sure you also have a pillow pulled down to support your neck as well as your head.
- Work on your abs: You’ve heard people talking about developing a strong core. This is because strong ab muscles will significantly reduce pain in your back. Unfortunately, the crunches and sit-ups often do more harm than good. Instead, build up your abs with a yoga plank pose.
- Stretch your legs: People working at desks often have more lower back pain than those with physical jobs. Standing after long hours of sitting causes our tight hamstrings to pull on our pelvis, causing alignment issues. Stand up often, stretch your hamstrings and make sure to stay loose and you will minimize many of these problems.
- Perfect your posture: Sit up straight, without leaning back or forward. Many who work on laptops suffer from poor posture, as the device sits on their lap or on a surface too low for proper viewing. As discussed above, keeping your screen at eye level will minimize problems – use books or platforms to raise the laptop and preserve your posture
If you are experiencing neck and back pain, whether from working from home or as a result of trauma or car accident – call West Coast Wellness today. Our doctors of chiropractic are dedicated to your overall health and wellness, and look forward to treating and alleviating your pain.
- Signs that You Should See a Chiropractor
Whether we experienced a car accident years ago – or are simply growing older – many of us have aches and pains that we have learned to live with. We groan, and stretch, and maybe even take a few ibuprofen – but the good news is, many of the uncomfortable conditions we have accepted can be treated and alleviated with chiropractic care.
If you are ready to gain back your range of motion and be pain free, consider seeing a doctor of chiropractic if you are suffering from any of these common ailments.
1. Lower Back Pain: This is a classic reason many people visit a chiropractor. By manipulating the sacroiliac joint, which links the lower spine to the pelvis, chiropractors can often provide rapid relief for lower back pain.
2. Pain During Pregnancy: Feeling achy is fairly common during pregnancy, as the pelvis is being strained and can be pushed out of alignment. This can cause sciatica and lower back pain, adding to the discomfort of the pregnant woman. Chiropractors are sought after for relief because pregnant women are limited in treatment options for pain. Pain medication or invasive procedures may harm the fetus, while chiropractic methods are completely safe for baby and mother. While studies are sparse, there are indications – and much anecdotal evidence – that chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can significantly lessen back pain during labor.
3. Digestive Problems
Many people are surprised the first time they learn that every major system of the body is connected and linked to a region of the spine. That is, a herniation or bulging of discs in the spine may actually be the cause of problems with your digestion.Chiropractic adjustments relieve the swelling, inflammation and pressure of nerves, allowing the entire body to function more efficiently. When it comes to digestive problems, your chiropractor will concentrate on the nerves in the thoracic (chest and abdominal) region of the spine. Herniated discs in this region have been linked with abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); but treatment may also relieve heartburn, bloating and gas. Keeping the nerves of the thoracic spine free from interference is a powerful way to achieve optimal digestive healing and function.
4. Neck Pain
Spinal manipulations are one of the most common treatments for neck pain. And although some patients report that they can achieve similar results by exercising at home, the chiropractor offers additional health benefits. For instance, movement assessments are often performed to see if the origin of the pain is actually a neck injury, or if the pain is radiating from the shoulders. Addressing the true cause of the pain will more quickly ease symptoms and provide relief,not to mention restore range of motion and quality of life.
5. Ongoing Headaches
Headaches have a myriad of causes, and chiropractors can’t help with all of them. However, if your headache is stemming from the neck or upper back, give your chiropractor a call. Manipulation coupled with massage techniques can loosen muscles and relieve the headache, If you suffer from chronic headaches, visit a chiropractor for a spinal adjustment. They will be able to identify if your headaches have an origin along the spinal column.
Chiropractic care is a strategic way to combat many of life’s aches and pains. So whether you have been suffering for years, or a recent car accident has caused your symptoms to flare up, call West Coast Wellness for an appointment today. Don’t live in pain a minute longer than necessary. We can help.
- Comparative Fault Chiropractic Treatment
After a car accident, there tends to be plenty of confusion. Between making sure no one is hurt, checking out property damage, and speaking with the police – there is a lot going on. While it may be tempting to speak with the other parties to the accident, it is important to not say too much.
The reason for this is that although Florida is a no-fault state, anything you say after an accident may be considered an admission of guilt. This may come into play if you find yourself in a legal battle when the dust settles.
What is a No-Fault State?
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that each motorist’s personal insurance will provide coverage for property damage or medical expenses – regardless of fault. So even if the other motorist caused the accident, you will make a claim to your own insurance company for reimbursement.
However, motorists do have the right to pursue a claim against the other party’s insurance company should their own coverage not be sufficient to cover their expenses. This often happens when an individual has sustained injuries which cause them to :
- miss a substantial amount of work
- sustain a major injury which will require extensive treatment or rehabilitation
- lose the ability to provide an income for themselves or dependents
- have a long term negative prognosis
The family of someone killed in a car accident may also seek damages from the other party.
Typically, the injured party will reach the extent of their personal coverage, then move to file a claim with the opposing insurance company. Should an agreement not be reached, a lawsuit may be filed. Very few accident claim cases actually proceed to a courtroom, with nearly 95% of them negotiated out of court.
What is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault is a legal structure here in the state of Florida. It allows the fault for the accident to be divided between parties, as well as permitting someone with some fault to still collect damages.
For instance, it may be determined that Motorist 1, who was driving drunk, was responsible for 80% of the “fault”. However, Motorist 2 was speeding, and so is assigned 20% of the fault. If motorist 2 sues for negligence and is awarded $10,000, they can collect $8,000, the amount of the award minus their personal liability.
Who Pays for Chiropractic Treatment?
After the accident, it is recommended that you seek treatment, even if you only feel minor aches and pains. Chiropractic treatment is popular after the type of trauma which can occur in a car accident, as the spine can be misaligned due to the impact of the crash.
Under no-fault rules, your own personal insurance company will typically pay for your chiropractic treatments after the accident. However, you may find it necessary to pursue an additional claim – or legal action – if your prognosis reveals ongoing treatment is recommended.
The professionals at West Coast Wellness are here to help. After a car accident, you may be experiencing whiplash, neck or back pain, or headaches. If these symptoms are a result of damage to your spine or spinal column, chiropractic treatment is a viable option.
Located in North Port, West Coast Wellness specializes in the treatment of injuries due to car accidents. Call today for a consultation and to discuss your treatment options.
- 5 Most Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents are among the most common causes of injury in Florida. We are heavily populated, with busy highways and overloaded city streets that only become more crowded during the winter months. Due to the COVID situation in many states, realtors are reporting that we are seeing a non-stop influx of new people as well – only adding to the likelihood of accidents on the road.
Unlike the visible damage to your car, the damage done to the human body after a traumatic impact is not necessarily immediately evident.
5 Most Common Injuries from Automobile Accidents
Car collisions involve significant force being applied very rapidly and unexpectedly. The human inside the car is often forced into damaging positions, breaking bones and causing the body to bend and twist in ways it was never designed to do. Here are the most common injuries to keep an eye out for:
1. Contusions: You may think that your car accident was too minor to cause any damage. But suddenly being thrown against a seat belt, or your hand bracing against the dashboard can cause contusions or bruising. These are rarely serious, and typically fade after several days. If you have a bruise that seems to linger too long, is growing in size, or is causing pain, you may wish to consult a doctor.
2. Broken Bones : The impact of a collision can cause extreme stress to your skeleton, and it may not be able to absorb the impact. Broken bones, such as broken wrists and broken ribs, are very common injuries after a car accident but are typically non-life threatening. Depending on the type of break, you may require surgery, casts and settings – and plenty of rest – in order to recover.
3. Whiplash/Neck and Back Injuries: When a car accident occurs, your body often moves in unexpected directions at dangerous speeds. This can cause pain and discomfort in your neck, most often diagnosed as whiplash. The strains to your muscles and ligaments are painful and can take weeks to overcome. The force of the collision may also causeherniations or ruptures of the discs in your spine. These injuries are far more serious than any of the others we have discussed, and can significantly impact your quality of life. These injuries may not be permanent, but will require time and attention to heal properly. A chiropractor is a strong ally when fixing the damage dome to your neck.
4. Head Injuries and Concussions: Depending on the speed and force of impact, your head may hit part of the interior of your car. You may think at first that you have only a bump or bruise, but afterwards may begin to experience headaches, blurred vision, even memory loss. Prompt treatment for any head injury, even if you don’t think it seems serious at the time, is very important. Traumatic brain injuries can occur, and these can have permanent and life-altering effects. Recovery from TBIs is possible to a degree, but you may experience loss of focus and memory, uncontrollable emotions, or mobility issues for life.
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) : Our minds and bodies are designed to absorb a certain amount of shock, but the severe stress which can occur due to a car accident can affect both long-term. PTSD can cause lingering fear, aversion to certain activities, sounds or situations, sleep issues and nightmares, and in serious cases may cause a complete refusal to drive again.
At West Coast Wellness, we specialize in helping car accident victims return to normal life. If you have suffered a neck or back injury, or are struggling to regain range of motion after a broken bone – give us a call. There is often no reason for you to live in pain – we will work on realigning your body, allowing it to return to its most optimal performance.
- Car Accidents and Back Injuries
The back consists of muscles, bones, and tissues connected to the spinal cord, extending from your neck down to your pelvic bones. Injuries to the back are common and can result from trauma, or everyday, repetitive behavior.
The lower back is most often damaged, whether from sprains, strains, herniated discs, or fractures. Back injuries limit your range of motion and can cause excruciating pain. Some home remedies can help with back pain, such as OTC pain relief, ice or cold compresses, bed rest, and physician-recommended exercises.
However, one of the major contributors to back injury statistics is car accidents.
Injury Due to Car Accident
Back injuries are common after a car accident, although they are sometimes difficult to link to the incident. Your insurance company must recognize the injury as a result of the accident so that your medical expenses are covered now and into the future. The burden of proof is on you to provide adequate evidence regarding the seriousness of your back injury, as well as how and when it happened.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often look for ways to justify paying you as little as possible. Because of this, they may try to claim that your back injury was pre-existing; that is, that the accident was not actually the cause of your pain. If they can prove that the back injury was not a result of the accident, they do not have to pay for expenses and treatment. Therefore providing the necessary documentation from a medical professional is an important part of a successful claim,
However, there is a situation in which you can receive compensation even if you had a pre-existing back condition. If your condition was worsened or aggravated by the accident, the insurance company should pay your medical or chiropractic costs. Again, the burden is on you to show that the accident caused increased pain or worsening symptoms.
Hint: If you were examined by on-scene paramedics or brought into the hospital for an initial consultation, ask for and keep all records and notes. Visit a chiropractor as soon as possible after the accident. Any damage to your spine or spinal column can be documented for a later claim or even lawsuit.
If you are a patient at a chiropractic clinic for regular treatments, the records will help you to establish the condition of your back prior to the accident. Your chiropractor can then provide the insurance company with the documentation they need to prove the new injuries caused by the accident.
Common back injuries associated with car accidents include:
Whiplash – Although most often considered a neck injury, the cervical spine (the uppermost part of the spine) is also often significantly affected by a case of whiplash.
Spinal Cord Injury – When the spinal cord is damaged, numerous symptoms may manifest. These symptoms may include nerve damage, muscle weakness, numbness, breathing issues, paralysis, and bodily function control loss.
Herniated discs – Discs act as cushions between the spinal vertebrae. When the back is healthy, these cushions prohibit the bones from rubbing against each other. When the protective discs are moved or torn, they become herniated – causing spinal nerve damage.
At West Coast Wellness, we specialize in helping people recover from car accident injuries, whether to the back, neck, or spine. Our team of medical professionals utilizes the latest in chiropractic technique to holistically and naturally treat your back injury, no matter the cause.
Call us today, and begin the road back to a life without pain.
- Insurance Issues After a Car Accident
If you have been in a car accident, you will quickly find yourself dealing with the insurance companies on two fronts. On the one hand, you will need to determine the extent of the damage to your car, how much will be covered, and if you need to pursue the other driver for damages. You will also need to assess how your medical expenses will be covered on the medical insurance side. This is especially true if you were involved in a severe accident with long-term implications for your health.
Your insurance company designates an insurance adjuster. This person typically is the single most influential in determining how much you will be reimbursed. Insurance adjusters may interview the parties to the accident, review police reports, or evaluate doctor’s reports and prognoses.
What a Property Insurance Adjuster Considers
Adjusters assess the extent of damage done to your automobile and make a final determination as to the total amount the insurance company will remit. An adjuster may inspect the vehicle(s) personally or accept the repair estimates from an approved auto body shop.
- If you obtain a repair estimate from an auto body shop, ask your insurance company if they have certified or approved shops. Get at least two repair estimates to ensure accuracy, and if you can obtain 3 or 4, all the better.
- After evaluating the estimates, the insurance adjuster will make a settlement offer. You have the right to accept or deny the offer.
- Although insurance companies have different policies, your car will be considered a complete loss or “totaled” if it will require more than 50% of its market value to repair the vehicle.
Does your auto or health insurance cover accidents sustained in a car accident?
Auto Insurance: In the broadest sense, the person determined to be at fault for the accident is expected to pay for the medical expenses of those injured in the accident. However, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that it is up to each person’s insurance company to pay for their injuries.
Yet, these limits are often reached quickly, and then the injured party can pursue additional payment through the other person’s car insurance company.
In Florida, the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage each motorist must carry can be used to cover their own injuries. In some cases, they can also invoke this coverage to make up for lost wages and even funeral expenses. If your PIP insurance exhausts, your health insurance begins to kick in at that point.
As with any medical situation, your copayments and deductibles will apply when using health insurance. You may also use monies from your health savings account.
Neither Medicare nor Medicaid can be used as primary coverage for car accidents., although you can designate these plans for secondary coverage. You may then use it when you exceed the limits of your personal injury protection coverage if needed.
Chiropractic Care After a Car Accident
Most health care coverage now covers chiropractic treatment after a car accident. This type of therapy is especially effective after the trauma of an impact. It realigns the spine, relieves pressure along the spinal column (including nerves, discs, and vertebrae), and encourages whole-body health.
If you were involved in a car accident or other traumatic accident in the North Port area, call West Coast Wellness as soon as possible. We are here to help.
- Drowsy Driving Statistics
Drunk driving is in the news often, but you don’t hear about drowsy driving quite so frequently. You may be surprised to learn that statistically speaking, a driver who is overtired causes and is involved in accidents at roughly the same rate as those who are intoxicated.
Fast Fact: A driver who has not slept for 20 hours exhibits the same reaction times as a driver with a 0.08% blood alcohol count, which is the legal limit.
(Source: National Safety Council)
However, most people are too fatigued to be behind the wheel of a car long before the 20 hour mark. Drivers who are tired have slower reaction times, can make poor judgements, and lose focus. Unfortunately, as is proven every day, it only takes a split second of distraction to change your life forever. That is why it is so important to remain alert behind the wheels in all circumstances – including feeling well rested while driving.
Statistics – Drowsy Driving
Because driving is an everyday occurrence, many people do think they can “do it with one eye closed.” All of us have been tired after a long day of work, and driven home, because driving has become so second nature. However, we forget that there are literally hundreds of events and circumstances we must react to over the course of every mile we drive. From stop signs to pedestrians, from changing traffic signals to construction cones – it is imperative a driver is alert to his or her surroundings. These statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA highlight the issues with drowsy driving.
- 100,000 drowsy driving accidents are reported annually across the United States
- Because people often don’t report drowsy driving as a cause, AAA estimates that a more accurate number is likely 328,000
- Drowsy driving costs Americans $109 billion dollars annually, and that doesn’t even include property damage
- According to a poll of drivers, 4% admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in the past 30 days.
Motor Vehicle Accidents Caused by Drowsy Drivers
When a driver is overtired, they are more apt to make a driving error – such as drifting into another lane, making an illegal turn, or failing to notice the car turning in front of them.
While you may not consider drowsy driving a crime, a driver can legally be held negligent if it can be proven that they were too tired to be behind the wheel of a car.
How do you know if you are too tired to drive safely? Drowsy drivers will experience many of the same symptoms, including
* Head bobbing, nodding off
* Difficulty keeping one’s eyes open
* Driving past exits or turns, missing signs or signals
* Drifting into other lanes or onto safety strips
If you were injured by a drowsy driver – or a driver exhibiting any form of negligence on the road – their insurance company is typically liable to pay for your injuries, expenses and medical bills (after your insurance company pays out on your policy, as Florida is a no-fault state.)
If the negligent party was not covered by the required insurance at the time of the accident, you may be able to file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim. To recover compensation, you will be burdened with proving the defendant driver’s fatigue was the cause of the accident.
Seeking Chiropractic Treatment
If you have been involved in any type of auto accident, the chances are that your body suffered some form of trauma. Because even a small misalignment can cause pain and discomfort, it is important to seek treatment to align your spine, reduce compression or pressure on your vertebrae and discs, and maintain optimum health.
If you were in a car accident in the North Port area – even if you are not feeling pain today – call West Coast Wellness. We will work with you to ensure that the health and wellness of your spine is looked after today, in order to prevent any further complications in the future.