Last Thursday morning Nickalaus Renteria was driving to work along I-15 in Utah when he began to experience problems with his Ford Taurus. His car began travelling more slowly and he turned on his emergency lights. Tragically the driver of a large box truck did not notice Nickalaus’ slowly moving car and collided into the back of it. The force of the impact propelled the Taurus forward into the garbage truck that Nickalaus had been following. Nickalaus Renteria was killed on impact. He was only 24 years old.

A tragedy like this can be hard to understand. The pain of loss can overwhelm the victim’s family and friends and leave them searching for reasons of how such a tragedy could have happened. A situation like Nickaluas’ can be even more difficult and complicated because it was not his fault. In instances where the victim had been drinking or driving distractedly it is simpler, although no less devastating. In a tragedy like Nickalaus’s there is an added element of suffering because someone other than the victim is to blame. Unfortunately situations like these are not uncommon.

According to the Utah Highway Safety Office there have been 146 fatal accidents in Utah so far this year. While a small percentage of accidents are the results of a car malfunctioning, it is often the case that the victims were driving safely before being hit by a drunk or distracted driver. Although it can sometimes be impossible to avoid a car accident there are ways to decrease the likelihood of being involved in an accident.

A large part of driving safely begins before you even enter your car. By maintaining your car in good, working condition you can often avoid possibly dangerous situations. Properly inflated tires are less likely to suffer a blowout, cars that are aligned correctly are easier to maneuver, new brakes allow you to stop quickly and avoid rear-ending another car and a well maintained engine is less likely to break down or overheat while travelling at highway speeds.

Once you are driving your car you can limit accident risk by driving defensively. Keep a watchful eye as you drive. Check your blind spots often and be aware of who is around you. When making a lane change always use your turn signal. Look both ways when crossing an intersection, even when you have a green light. On the freeway avoid following other cars too closely (remember the 3 second rule) and do not drive alongside another car for an extended time period.

Finally, obey the law while driving. You are far less likely to be involved in a fatal car accident if you are traveling at or under the speed limit. Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or while texting on your cell phone.

Unfortunately even if you do follow all of the precautions mentioned above it is still possible that you might be involved in an automobile accident. If this happens and you or a family member is involved in a serious accident, you may need the help of a personal injury attorney in order to avoid costly medical bills. If this has happened to you or a family member and the insurance company is refusing to help, call the attorneys at Christensen & Hymas today at (801) 506-0800 for a free consultation.

Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons user Mr. Choppers 

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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