Tag Archives: Bay Area car accidents

Most Dangerous Times to Drive in San Francisco

San Francisco has some of the most saturated traffic in the nation. According to the 2021 Urban Mobility Report, The San Francisco Bay Area has the fourth overall worst traffic and fourth-highest excess fuel consumption due to congestion in the nation (and both numbers rose from 2019 to 2020).

If you’re one of the many drivers in the area, then you may be wondering what you can do to avoid these statistics. Interestingly, there are days and times where accidents and traffic congestion are more likely to occur.

What can make driving turn deadly?

Typically, the risk of collision is greater when driving during the heaviest hours of congestion when commuters flood the freeway to get home from work. Usually, to make matters worse, these drivers are in a rush! Add potential drunk drivers or drivers under the influence of illegal drugs into the commotion of a heavily trafficked freeway, the risk for a severe accident is even higher. These drivers are out on the freeways in droves during Friday evening’s rush hour.

The best way to protect yourself and your passengers from a terrible wreck (even a potentially fatal one) is by being aware of the risks, surroundings, and data to make smarter driving time decisions.

For example, San Francisco-Oakland, California, is fifth in the nation as of 2020 for excess truck travel time and congestion. It’s horrible to be on a packed freeway, let alone with massive 18- wheelers surrounding your sedan or minivan.

How Many Accidents Occur in the Bay Area?

Although in 2020 reports, the Bay Area saw a dip in the number of crashes, this was most likely due to fewer Californians commuting to work as many workers went remote. Additionally, Covid-19 related lockdowns were prevalent in much of the state for long stints, which also impacted traffic, so 2021 numbers may reflect much higher. According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic deaths were up by 7% across the country despite, on average, 13% less congestion in 2020. Nevertheless, the Bay Area’s statistics are still staggering compared to other portions of the U.S.

Vision Zero is a city policy implemented back in 2014 in San Francisco to eliminate traffic deaths on the city’s roads by 2024. Unfortunately, the number of traffic fatalities grew from the prior year. In 2020, 30 deaths in San Francisco city limits were traffic fatalities. Of course, this does not include the entire Bay Area. Oakland’s traffic deaths spiked in 2020 by nearly 60%, and more than 20,000 people were injured in San Francisco traffic-related accidents in 2020.

What is the deadliest time of day on the road in San Francisco?

According to the City of San Francisco’s definition, the morning peak period of road congestion is 7-9 a.m., and evening peak is 4:30-6:30 p.m. During these times of day, be sure your eyes are on the road and you are not distracted by your phone or loved one in the car with you. Pay attention to traffic and speed laws, pedestrian traffic, red lights, stop signs, and yielding  —which all happen to be the city’s top five things to focus on while driving but are the leading five causes of collisions.

What to do if you’ve been injured in a California vehicle collision?

First, call the police and file a report. It’s not always easy gathering insurance and contact information after an accident, especially if you’re injured or it’s a multi-car crash. To make matters more complex, we live in a world where rideshare drivers often are speeding to pick up a fare and are involved in accidents. Everyone’s anxiety also seems to be higher in a pandemic world, and with a battered economy, some drivers may be cruising around without insurance, registration, or a valid license.

In some of the worst instances, you may be dealing with an intoxicated driver, making matters more dangerous and complicated. The police will gather everyone’s information carefully and efficiently.

Next, always get checked out at the hospital even if you feel fine, as the signs of whiplash, for example, don’t always show up instantly. Plus, the anxiety of an accident can mask symptoms and pain of injuries you may not be aware you’ve obtained.

Lastly, but just as essential as the above, it’s wise to contact an experienced and trusted California Bay Area car accident and personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable attorney will ensure you know all of your rights and collect any damages you may be entitled to receive.

When You’re Injured in an Accident Caused by a High Driver

According to The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the higher on drugs one is, the more significant risks they take while driving. A 2018 report revealed, 42% of all drivers killed in collisions (who had been tested) tested positive for legal or illegal drugs, and the percentage has increased in each following year of data.

OTS, California law enforcement, federal agencies, and the cannabis and pharmaceutical industry representatives are all concerned and wish to bring greater awareness to the public, particularly drivers who take prescribed drugs and those using illegal ones. Bringing awareness and potentially more reform could prevent even more significant loss of life due to these severe issues in the future.

California’s Proposition 64 doesn’t negate your right to safety

First, despite California’s Proposition 64 (The Adult Use of Marijuana Act (of 2016), which made it legal for people 21 and older to use and grow marijuana for personal use, drivers still have rights and laws of the road in place to protect them in the event of a collision with a high driver.

Although using marijuana is permitted in private residences or at a business licensed for the on-site consumption of marijuana, using marijuana while driving a motor vehicle remains illegal, anywhere that prohibits smoking tobacco, and in all public spaces.

California’s drunk and drugged driving law applies to over-the-counter medications that make a motorist sleepy and now legal drugs like marijuana. The use of marijuana, therefore, is not permitted in a car, drivers cannot drive with THC in their system, and it may not be out in the open in a vehicle.

How to prove a driver was driving while high?

Testing a driver for THC isn’t simple or very straightforward (at the moment). A recent state report from The California Highway Patrol’s Impaired Driving Task Force recommends several changes to test and track California drivers impaired by marijuana and other drugs more efficiently. For now, officers have to mainly rely on monitoring a driver’s actions for symptoms of marijuana use. An officer can observe a driver’s pupils for reactions and dilation. Marijuana affects a part of the brain that controls movement, stability, and coordination, and can diminish perception and memory. Officers can check for tremors in eyelids and the body. If marijuana use is suspected, only a blood test can verify the presence of THC and its levels, but this is time-sensitive, as the level of THC reduces by a whopping 75% within only one hour.

But what if a high or stoned driver has already injured you?

A driver arrested for DUI will have their driver’s license suspended and sometimes revoked. The court ruling may not only fine the driver but require jail time.

If a driver caused a crash while high, the driver’s car insurance would pay for medical bills, lost wages, car repairs/replacement, and other expenses caused during the collision. If the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance, your insurance’s underinsured and uninsured coverage will kick in.

Your rights and options after a crash with a high driver

First, call the police immediately. It is vital to make sure the police come to the crash scene as your insurance company will need an accident report and the driver’s insurance and contact information. In the event the other driver is found to be high or stoned, your insurance company will go after that driver’s insurance to get you compensation for expenses related to the crash.

If possible, make sure to take pictures of the high driver’s car and VIN, as well as any damage to your vehicle.

Next, it is wise to reach out to an attorney right away following a crash with a high or stoned driver as again testing is tricky, and you will want as much expertise on your side as possible to make sure you get total compensation.

An experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney can ensure that you receive complete compensation for pain, suffering, lost wages (if you are out of work for any length of time), medical bills, prescriptions, therapy, and all other applicable damages.

Additionally, if the insurance settlement offer isn’t enough to cover your expenses, a personal injury attorney can aid you in filing a lawsuit.

Do not feel you don’t have ground to stand on with a stoned driver — you do but keep in mind that aspects of these cases can be time-sensitive and it is in your best interests to consult with an attorney.