Driving is nearly a necessity for millions of Californians, especially those who live or work far from mass transit options in Los Angeles, San Francisco and the state's other major cities. Operating a motor vehicle brings many responsibilities, such as committing to not being distracted behind the wheel or using a cellphone while driving.
The roads in California, especially near population centers, bring all sorts of vehicles close together. Traffic backup on freeways across the Golden State demonstrate every day how close they come. The dangers, however, are more likely when cars are moving fast.
With so many vehicles on the roads of California, drivers and passengers are always at risk from careless and inattentive drivers. High speed and hazardous maneuvers endanger everyone on the road, but few are more vulnerable than pedestrians.
Transportation is essential to California's robust and diverse economy. Agricultural and industrial products leave the state by land, sea and air on a daily basis, and the freeways and streets contain every type of vehicle imaginable.
California combines nearly every form of transportation. Freeways and light rail tie together some of the densest and largest population centers in the world, while farmers walk along lesser roads in the heartland and desert extremes. One would not be too surprised to see a horse in Lane No. 2 while driving in the Golden State.
Drivers in California can expect to encounter not only cars, trucks, buses and pedestrians on the road, but from time to time, tankers, golf carts and horses will be on the road in front of them. Such encounters can cause unexpected hazards for drivers even if they are paying close attention. The exercise of extra care is needed to keep the roads around them safe. This includes paying full attention to the road and avoiding cellphones and other distractions. It also means proper maintenance of headlights, windshield and windshield wipers that allow a clear view of the vehicle or pedestrian in front of you. Multi-lane roads, including interstate freeways and high-traffic state roads, also present the danger of lane change related auto accidents.
California is experiencing a building boom, thanks to a thriving diversified economy that needs more homes and office space. That activity can come with a price, as more construction vehicles and other heavy machinery ends up near pedestrians and drivers.
Crosswalks, especially marked crosswalks, are vital to the safety of the walkers on California's roads. Motor vehicle collisions are much more injurious to pedestrians than drivers, and both require vigilance to avoid tragic injuries or deaths.
Out of all motor vehicle accidents in California, 22 percent have resulted in pedestrian fatalities. Many more pedestrians are seriously injured by cars operated by distracted drivers, drivers under the influence, or drivers unaware of traffic laws.
So many residents of California believe their case may be "swept under the rug" by the state's law enforcement personnel. Fortunately, California takes car, truck, motorcycle and auto-pedestrian accidents quite seriously. You may be pleased to know that California actually has an elite investigative unit that often handles motor vehicle accidents.