New Mexico’s roads witness frequent speed-related accidents, from busy interstates to quiet neighborhoods. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is the second-leading cause of fatal crashes in our state. This has unfortunately proven to be true in the case of several recent fatal accidents in Rio Rancho. Combine reckless speeding with red lights, and you have a whole new level of accidents waiting to happen.
Red light running is familiar to anyone who has ever sat at an intersection waiting for the light to turn green. How often have you witnessed a car speed by in front of you after you’ve already watched the light turn? How often have you seen a car fly through after their left-turn arrow has long been red? For most of us, it is too many times to keep track of. According to the Federal Highway Administration, red light running situations just like these led to the deaths of 936 people in 2017.
Contributing Factors in Red Light Running Accidents
For some people who decide to run red lights, their motivation is a disregard for traffic laws and the safety of others. However, in most cases, there are contributing factors that make it more likely someone ends up breaking the law. Some common contributing factors are:
- Speeding – A driver going well above the speed limit is going to have a much harder time coming to a complete stop when they see the light changing. They may make that split decision to run the light and risk the consequences as opposed to screeching to a halt. Drivers who regularly drive above the speed limit may be more likely to break traffic rules and make risky decisions.
- Distractions – We live in an era with more distractions than ever. For many years, drivers have had to handle the distractions of talking passengers, crying children, jay-walking pedestrians, and inexperienced drivers. Now, with the world at our fingertips through our phones, there are more people than ever trying to talk to us while we drive and take our attention away from the road. Glancing at a text for one moment could mean the difference between noticing a red light and completely blowing through it.
- Driving under the influence – It’s commonly known that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impacts coordination. Stoplights rely on drivers having the coordination to assess whether a light is red, yellow, or green, and then react accordingly. Driving under the influence can not only lead to running red lights, but it increases the likelihood of being involved in a fatal accident.
Reminders for Red Light Safety
Even if you’re in the habit of following traffic laws, we could all practice a little more caution when it comes to stoplights. Here are a few reminders to help make intersections a safer place for all drivers:
- When possible, stop at yellow lights: If you see an upcoming light is yellow and feel confident you can safely stop, then choose to stop instead of risking running a red.
- Stop before the white line: The solid white line before the crosswalk in an intersection is there for a good reason. Stopping before it means you’re less likely to hit a pedestrian and means you’ll be well out of the intersection while traffic is going through.
- Don’t assume a green light means the intersection is safe: Just because the light turns green it does not mean that there are no longer any cars in the intersection. Take a moment to look to your right and left to check that no one ran the red light before proceeding.
Steps to Take After a Red Light-Related Crash
Auto accidents can be devastating and upend your life in numerous ways. You may be recovering from serious injuries that lead to missed work and missed wages. The reckless driver who hit you may be uncooperative and their insurance company may deny your claim. If your stress levels are rising just thinking about it all, here are some basic steps to get you started on your road back to normalcy:
1. Seek Medical Attention
It is always safer to be checked immediately by a medical professional after an accident. Red light accidents often involve vehicles being hit directly on the driver or passenger side, which can cause serious injuries. Injuries or long-term pain sometimes don’t show up until later, but a doctor may quickly see that something is wrong. Make sure to save all hospital bills and information on your injuries so you can ask for compensation from the party at fault.
2. Choose an Injury Attorney
If you are the victim of a driver running a red light, the next step is to hire someone to fight for your rights. Save your energy to put toward recovering physically and emotionally, and allow an experienced attorney to handle the insurance companies and party at fault.
If you live in the Rio Rancho area, Sanchez and Piñon will fight for the compensation you deserve. They are experienced car accident and personal injury attorneys who have represented numerous individuals in speed-related accidents. Sanchez and Piñon understand the devastation accidents can cause and they will fight for the responsible party to be held accountable.
3. Start the Personal Injury Claim Process
After hiring an experienced personal injury attorney like Sanchez and Piñon, you can start the personal injury claim process. While your attorney will walk you through each part of the process, here are the basic steps:
- File a personal injury claim with the insurance company
- Gather information and evidence surrounding the accident and injuries sustained
- Pursue all legal options possible to ensure you receive fair compensation for the damages sustained, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, cost of household help, and punitive damages
Have you recently been in an auto accident where a driver was speeding and ran a red light? Are you looking for legal representation to handle your personal injury claim? Contact Sanchez and Piñon, Rio Rancho’s auto accident and personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation. While other attorneys talk, we listen and provide a personal level of representation. We can discuss how to fight for the compensation you deserve and hold the responsible party accountable.