As days get shorter, life gets more hectic and weather becomes increasingly unpredictable, news of hit-and-run accidents prevails throughout the Sacramento region during this time of the year. With nearly 500,000 people living in the City of Sacramento alone, approximately 200 hit-and-run injuries or deaths are reported yearly, typically during the night.
The most fortunate don’t even know they’re victims until they go outside and see that their car has been hit by a driver who is long gone. Other accidents involve impaired drivers or road rage incidents. At any rate, the damage done to the victims and their vehicles or person is real and lasting.
Here are a few reminders that may help lower the rate of hit-and-run accidents in the greater Sacramento area.
When you are operating a vehicle, you have to know what’s going on around your vehicle all the time. While your main focus might be on the vehicle directly in front of you, being aware of every car within your line of sight is important. This is not to say that all or most hit-and-run collisions can be avoided, but there are defensive driving maneuvers that can be helpful for staying out of danger.
While speeding is fourth on the list of Sacramento’s top-five traffic violations, with more than 300 annual injuries and fatalities related to speed, keeping a safe distance at any speed should be the gold standard for preventing accidents of any kind.
Report What You See
Some motorists who flee after causing an accident are in a state of sheer panic. They may not be thinking clearly, be driving on a suspended license, lack proper car insurance, or might have gotten in trouble with the law in the past. For repeat offenders, their thinking is that they got away with it in the past. If you ever see someone causing a car accident and attempting to take off, do what you can to get evidence. Snap a picture with your cell phone or immediately call 911 and give the operator the fleeing motorist’s tag number. You should never personally get involved by giving chase or confronting the driver, but you can do your civic duty in a responsible and safe way.
Getting into a car accident can be frightening, even if you believe that all parties involved came out physically unharmed. From the moment of impact, your adrenaline rises and you become somewhat disoriented. Normally, the driver of each vehicle gets out, checks to see that everyone is okay, and then exchanges car insurance information. In a hit-and-run, you are left to figure things out for yourself. First and foremost, you have to tell yourself to stay calm. No matter how bad things look, everything is going to turn out okay in the end.
Of course, no one wants to get into any kind of collision, let alone a hit-and-run accident. There may be a lot of paperwork and questions to answer, but you can recover, and your car will be repaired or replaced. If Sacramento residents work together, hit-and-run accidents can become one less thing to worry about as the city grows.
Photo by Ian Valerio