The leaf peepers are among us!
Portland personal injury lawyers know this last deluge of tourist traffic before winter can be particularly dangerous for a number of reasons. As it gets dark earlier, accident risks increase. That is also true of the deteriorating weather conditions.
Of course we all know about the dangers of distracted driving — and no one is as distracted as a tourist with their head hanging out the window as they snap pictures of Maine’s gorgeous fall foliage. And then there is the patience of native drivers, which has often worn thin as October gives way to the holiday travel season. As we reported earlier this month on our Maine Injury Lawyers Blog, your accident risks increase substantially when your patience wears thin.
Unlike the summer tourism season, which is largely confined to Maine’s coastal region. The fall foliage encourages travelers to get off the beaten path and to explore the state’s more rural areas. According to LeafPeeepers.com, the best viewing begins in northern Maine during the last week of September. Prime time in central and eastern Maine begins the first week of October. And by the end of October, the autumn foliage in the state’s southern and coastal regions will be on full display.
And with that increase in traffic comes an increase in the risk of traffic accidents. The National Safety Council is already reporting 2012 is expected to be a deadlier year on the nation’s roads than any year since the beginning of the economic downturn. Through July, 20,880 motorists were killed in accidents on the nation’s roads — up about 8 percent from last year and 7 percent when compared to the same time period of 2010.
The Bureau of Highway Safety for the State of Maine is encouraging motorists to download the new WreckCheck mobile app, which provides guidance about what to do in the event of an accident. The app takes drivers through a step-by-step process to create an accident report and makes it easy to capture photos and documents necessary to make an insurance claim. You should also consider speaking to an experienced personal injury law firm following a traffic accident. Even in cases where serious injury is not evident in the immediate aftermath of a crash, properly documenting an accident can help protect your rights in the event medical complications later arise. This is particularly important when dealing with an at-fault, out-of-state driver.
Maine law requires drivers to notify law enforcement whenever an accident causes injury or results in more than $1,000 in property damage. Still, about 1 in 5 drivers continue to believe police should only be called when someone is injured. Your insurance company may require a police report and so police should always be called to document an accident scene.
“Understanding what steps to take following an accident can make a difficult situation manageable and less stressful,” Superintendent Eric Cioppa said. “Knowing what information to share, and with whom, will help to keep you safe and decrease some of the challenges of filing an insurance claim.”
If you are the victim of a Bangor car accident, contact us at 1-800-804-2004 or read more on our website.
High Season for Road Construction Accidents in Maine, Published by Peter Thompson & Associates, Sept. 12, 2012.