With more people on the roadways, there is a higher potential for traffic accidents. These accidents can be the smallest of fender-benders to those resulting with fatalities.
According to recent data collected from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, there have been 458 traffic fatalities across the state since Jan. 1. Ten traffic fatalities are reportedly from Bradley County.
A major factor linked to traffic-related accidents is distractions.
According to Stan Clark, paramedic and public information officer for the Bradley County Emergency Medical Services, drivers should completely eliminate cell phone use while driving.
“We don’t realize how easily distracted we can become,” said Clark.
Texting while driving is not only dangerous to do while driving, but also illegal. The law banning texting while driving in Tennessee became effective July 2009.
Cleveland Police Captain Tom McLain said drivers need to pay close attention to the road and what others around them are doing.
“Focus on what you’re doing and obey speed limits. Be aware of your surroundings, too. Don’t be distracted by talking on a cell phone, text-messaging, radios or even passengers. Be aware at all times,” said McLain.
Clark said he has been to many traffic-related accidents in which drugs and alcohol have played a factor.
“That’s one of the first things that comes to mind in good driving practices — don’t drink and drive,” said Clark.
According to information from the THP, road rage is a dangerous behavior which will not be tolerated. Road rage or any other form of aggressive driving can be reported by dialing *THP (847) from a cell phone, or by dialing 911. THP officials say never retaliate or react in a manner which causes more danger. Slow down and let the other driver pass. When it’s safe to use your cell phone, call *THP and provide them with your location, a description of the vehicle and details regarding the aggressive driving behavior.
If you’re involved in an automobile accident and there are no serious injuries, move the vehicle(s) off the roadway and away from traffic. Not only is this safer, but it is also the law in Tennessee.
Clark said at times vehicle accidents occur when emergency vehicles such as police, fire and rescue, and highway maintenance are already en route to an emergency situation.
“When people see an emergency vehicle the important thing to do is not panic. The driver of that emergency vehicle will make the safest choice to get around you. It’s very important that in these cases, drivers slow down, pull over to the right if possible and come to a complete stop,” said Clark.