We’ve all hear a lot about road rage here in Maryland, but that’s just one of many conditions that people can become involved in on our streets and highways, many times to someone’s ultimate detriment. While road rage can usually be accompanied by bouts of aggressive driving, driving in an aggressive manner is not necessarily accompanied every time by anger on the road. This may sound as if we are describing a medical condition, which would be for the healthcare community to decide; what we mean to discuss here is that aggressive driving on its own can cause serious and sometimes deadly traffic accidents.
As Baltimore area personal injury lawyers, I and my colleagues have enough experience with car, truck and motorcycle accidents to know that, for lack of a better phrase, speed kills. While the auto and traffic safety community is generally in agreement on this subject, many sports car enthusiasts and racing devotees would likely argue that speed doesn’t necessarily kill, but it makes a car or trucking-related collision that much worse, all things being equal that is.
Speed limits are established for one main reason: to keep speeds on public roads to a reasonable level while also maintaining quick, efficient and economical travel for members of the public who use the roadways. As we have said before, however, having laws and regulations in place is no guarantee that people will obey them, which is why we have police to enforce the laws and a judicial system to provide an unbiased forum for citizens who have been accused of a violation of those laws.
But back to speed and limits. As anyone who drives anywhere these days, you know that a certain percentage of drivers do not obey the posted limit. Whether this is because they are in too much of a hurry to be concerned for themselves, their passengers or others on the road, or if they just feel they can handle the extra speed, situations can arise that can result in a bad automobile wreck in the blink of an eye.
For one, sports car owners believe that their cars can handle much better than a family sedan or SUV. They are probably right, though this knowledge in no way would get them off once a police officer stops them for exceeding the local speed limit by 10, 15 or 20mph. One thing is relatively certain, drivers who treat their family sedans, SUVs and minivans like race cars will likely end up either in an accident or on the receiving end of a court summons for numerous traffic violations.
Few if any light trucks, SUVs and other utility-type passenger vehicles among them, can handle as well as a sports coupe. Again, this is no way should embolden sports car owners, it is simply a comparison of the vehicles’ capabilities. The higher center of gravity on a sport utility vehicle, off-road Jeep or Land Rover, or high-riding pickup trucks is not necessarily conducive to high-speed cornering on pavement. As automobile accident attorneys, we know that many vehicle rollover accidents on our interstates occur due to high speed combined with rapid steering maneuvers resulting, very often, in the tipping over of the vehicle and injury to its occupants.
We bring this up because of a news article that came through a while back. According to the information we read, a couple of Maryland residents died when the pickup truck they were traveling in went out of control along a stretch of Millers Island Rd. in Edgemere. Based on police reports, the crash occurred just after midnight as a 2004 Ford pickup was traveling at what authorities described as a “high rate of speed” in the southbound lane. However, due to the excessive speed, the driver apparently could not negotiate the turn easily.
As the truck began to slide into the oncoming lanes, police estimate that the driver over-corrected his steering of the vehicle and ended up losing control. The vehicle then when back into the southbound lane, then onto the shoulder and off the road completely. The pickup then crashed into some nearby trees and ended upside down on its roof. The 38-year-old driver was partially ejected from the truck, while the 28-year-old passenger survived long enough to crawl out and walk to the road. Both ended up dying at the scene, according to news reports.