If one could turn back the clock and prevent a tragic accident or even a less serious one, would it be all that difficult to do? As Maryland automobile and commercial trucking accident attorneys, we’d have to say, “Yes and no.” Understanding how car, truck and motorcycle crashes come to pass is something that every personal injury lawyer learns early on. And while we can’t say unequivocally that changing any one factor leading to a car or commercial truck collision would alter the future, it would not surprise us either.
In cases of a serious mechanical problem leading to a driver’s inability to control his or her vehicle, avoiding the failure of a steering, suspension or braking component could actually avert disaster. Of course, going back in time is only a dream in the real world, which is why we must deal with the consequences of a negligent act or a defective product that may result in a bad traffic wreck.
As personal injury lawyers serving Maryland residents, as well as those people who may have been injured in traffic accidents in the District of Columbia, we know that certain overt acts by drivers can result in a traffic crash or pedestrian accident. Of course, by avoiding certain car, truck and motorcycle collisions, drivers and passengers alike could avoid the various fractures, internal injuries, closed-head trauma and spinal cord damage.
But back to our original premise. If just one factor could be eliminated, it could be in certain circumstances that traffic accidents could be reduced and the injuries resulting from them lessened or eliminated. One factor that can both contribute to a roadway accident as well as make it worse is vehicle speed. While a car that isn’t moving is also unlikely to hit another vehicle or person, that is a rather ridiculous example; however taking the fact that crash energy increases at an exponential rate as speed increases.
In other words, as the speed of an object increases, the kinetic energy of that object actually increases as the square of the speed. So, for every doubling of a car or truck’s road speed, the energy stored up (and released on impact) is actually quadrupled. As one can imagine, even a small increase in a car, truck or motorcycle’s speed results in much larger increase in its kinetic energy. Theoretically, a simple five-mile-per-hour increase in vehicle speed — from, say, 30 to 35mph — results in an increase in kinetic energy by one-third. That’s a 30+ percent increase in potential crash energy from only a 17 percent increase in speed.
Needless to say that if we could dial back the speed of a car before a crash, not only might the crash never occur (all depending on the circumstances), but the force of the crash, if it did occur, could be lessened greatly. This is all just pie-in-the-sky dreaming, but when we see articles like one news story, it makes us think how nice it would be to be able to turn back the clock.
The incident in question, by the way, happened on a Tuesday near Perry Hall along a stretch of Belair Rd. just before Cheryl Ave. According to police reports, a 32-year-old driver from Kingsville, MD, was operating his Dodge truck at what officials described was an excessive speed. The vehicle was headed north in the right-hand vehicle lane when it reportedly clipped a Toyota pickup truck from the rear. Following the impact, according to Baltimore County police, the Dodge left the roadway and then hit a nearby pole, causing the vehicle to roll several times. Emergency responders arriving at the scene were able to rescue the driver and chopper the man out to Maryland Shock Trauma.
Based on news reports, it appears that the Toyota driver was not seriously injured in the crash; however, the driver of the Dodge Ram truck did sustain serious injuries, but they were not life-threatening. Police did say, following an initial investigation, that the speeding-related charges were pending against the Dodge driver, at least at the time of the news article.
Charges Pending in Tuesday’s Belair Road Accident, Patch.com, April 27, 2012