Before you embark on that summer vacation you've been planning for months, make sure you plan to have your vehicle road-trip ready. A car accident is one of the fastest ways to put the brakes on your break. The good news is drivers can drive down their risk of a collision, break down, or another emergency.
AAA's American Driving Survey revealed that more than half of people drive most during the summer, between July and September. It's during these months that AAA receives the most calls from drivers who are stranded due to flat tires, low fuel, lockouts and dead batteries. About 44 percent of those have vehicle issues that can't be resolved and require towing. That of course puts a kink in your travel plans, but the bigger danger is that you may not discover one of these issues until it's too late and leads to a crash.
Prepare Your Vehicle
It's a good idea to make sure your vehicle is inspected by a certified auto technician. Some of the things they'll be searching for include:
- Tires. Looking for excessive or uneven tread wear and proper inflation.
- Coolant level and condition. There needs to be a proper mix of water and coolant.
- Engine oil level and condition. This is especially important when you're driving in extreme weather conditions or if you're pulling a heavy trailer.
- Worn, cracked, blistered belts or hoses.
- Car battery. Keep in mind, the life of a car battery can be curtailed in hot weather.
- Recalls. In 2016 alone, there were a record high 53.2 million vehicles or vehicle parts recalled. Much of this was thanks to the massive Takata airbag recall, but there are many others that may directly affect the safety of your vehicle. In the last 20 years, there have been between 10 and 30 million vehicles recalled. But last year marked the third in a row that we crossed the 50 million mark, according to Reuters. Although a recall won't relieve a manufacturer of liability if the defect results in a crash (in fact, it could be a concession on liability), you don't want to take your chances if you can avoid it. Keep in mind that while rental car companies aren't allowed anymore to rent vehicles with outstanding defects, used car dealers aren't bound to this so long as they inform you.
Any one of these issues can lead to a car accident. It's important to make sure your vehicle is in top shape before you head out.
If You Crash While Driving in Connecticut
The majority of car accidents in Connecticut are caused by negligence of one or more motorists.
You should know that when it comes to auto insurance coverage, Connecticut is an at-fault state (as of 1994). That means those who cause collisions are responsible to cover the damage they inflict (as opposed to no-fault states, where every driver carries personal injury protection insurance to cover their own damages, to a point). State law requires drivers to carry a minimum of $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and $10,000 for property damage. The law also requires everyone carry uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage in the same amounts as their bodily injury liability.
Even if you are partially to blame for the car accident, you can still collect damages from another at-fault party, so long as you aren't more than half responsible. Further, C.G.S.A. 52-572(h) holds that if there is more than one defendant (at-fault driver) and one of those is uncollectable, their portion of damages may be reapportioned among the remaining defendants.