We've all experienced the frustration of being overtaken in the wrong lane, watching a driver merge at the last second, or someone following too closely on the highway. What you may not know is that drivers often cause car accidents in Kentucky not because they're breaking the rules of the road but because they don't know what the rules are. Are you 100% sure you know how to react in everyday driving scenarios?
Rules of the Road Many Drivers Get Wrong
One misconception about safe driving involves text messaging or talking on a cellphone. Since 2010, texting while a vehicle is in motion has been banned for Kentucky drivers of all ages. Drivers under 18 are prohibited from using their hands to interact with any personal communication devices, including GPS devices.
Drivers over 18 are allowed to use their hands to place or accept telephone calls or interact with GPS while driving. While it remains legal under state law for adults to talk on the phone while driving, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) recommends that phone calls should only be made under safe conditions.
Drivers might also make simple mistakes that have significant consequences, including:
- Misusing the turn signal. Turn signals are for alerting the drivers around you of your intent to change direction. They should be used when merging, changing lanes, and of course, turning. However, even drivers who use signals may not be following best practices. For example, signals should be switched on early enough to allow other drivers to react. Last-minute signaling or signaling while completing the maneuver defeats the purpose of using the warning. Turning a signal on too early can cause other drivers to misinterpret your actions and pull into your intended path.
- Riding with pets. Pets are often involved in distracted driving accidents simply because their owners do not restrain them properly before setting off. While it may not be illegal in Kentucky to drive with pets or even leave them in the car while you run errands, it is illegal to put an animal in any situation that could cause harm.
- Yielding to school buses. Traffic in both directions must stop for school buses only when the red bus lights are flashing, or its stop sign is extended. Passing a school bus is legal as long as its lights and stop signs are not present. If the bus is in motion, there is no need to pull over or stop your vehicle.
- Driving an unsafe vehicle. All drivers are expected to maintain their cars and keep them in safe working order before setting off. Torn wipers, burned-out headlights, cracked windshields, defective seatbelts, and other problems can all contribute to crashes and reduce the value of your claim.
Failing to Obey the Rules of the Road Can Result in Shared Fault for a Crash
Each state has its own rules about whose insurance should pay for damage after a car accident. As a choice no-fault state, Kentucky allows drivers to choose between using their own insurance or suing an at-fault driver. If you have opted into the no-fault system, you can only sue another driver if you sustain a severe injury that results in more than $1000 in medical costs.
Kentucky also has rules about how much a crash victim can receive in damages if they share the blame for the accident that caused them. Under the state's pure comparative negligence system, the court will assign a percentage of fault to all parties involved in the accident, and any damages will be reduced accordingly.
For example, imagine the driver who hit you was speeding, but they couldn't see your vehicle because your lights weren't working correctly. A judge awards you $100,000 but assigns 70% fault to the speeding driver and 30% to you. The amount of your fault reduces your damages, so you are awarded $70,000.
Speak to an Attorney Before Accepting Your Insurance Claim Payout
No matter which insurer pays for your accident, all insurance companies operate by paying out as little as possible to victims. A Louisville personal injury attorney at Gray and White can work to reduce your percentage of fault and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today or call 1-888-450-4456 to schedule a free case consultation or read through our complimentary guide, Critical Information to Know Before Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky.