We’ve all felt pain at the pump in recent months, but there’s reason to believe that rising gas prices will also create new road hazards. In a rapidly changing environment, it’s more important than ever to drive safely and be aware of new and emerging hazards.
The need for cost-effective alternatives
How do rising gas prices lead to new road dangers? People are turning to alternative forms of transportation to keep from paying inflated gas prices for their passenger vehicles. Some of these alternatives include motorcycles, e-bikes, bicycles, and walking.
These forms of transportation are not new, but their increased presence on our streets and roads may catch drivers unaware. Evidence suggests this is all too possible.
A concerning correlation
A report published by Science Direct suggests a strong correlation between the price of gas and the dangers posed by an increase in motorcycle traffic.
The study found that for every one dollar rise in gas prices there was a corresponding increase of 24.2% in motorcycle accidents resulting in a fatal injury.
Many motorcycles offer 50 miles per gallon and even better fuel economy. The incentive to save money could lead to more and more motorcycles on our roads. While the danger of motorcycle accidents increases, we can all do our part to limit the damage.
Watch (and listen) for motorcycles
Many motorcycle accidents have the same cause: the driver of a car or truck failing to notice the motorcycle. The risk is especially high in certain driving scenarios:
- When drivers of passenger vehicles take left turns, they sometimes fail to see a motorcycle and turn into its path.
- Drivers who merge in traffic sometimes do so without noticing a motorcycle in the adjacent lane.
As more motorcycles enter our roads, drivers must be diligent in keeping their mind, eyes, and ears on the road. You can limit the chances of causing a motorcycle accident by:
- remaining alert and free from distractions as you drive,
- yielding the right of way to a motorcycle when appropriate, and
- turning down the radio or another device that might keep you from hearing a motorcycle’s engine.
Additional safety measures such as blind-spot detection devices and convex mirrors can provide an added layer of safety.
What other hazards may emerge?
Motorcycles are only one means of easing the financial strain of high gas prices. Other alternative forms of transportation and some of the hazards they present include these:
- Walking: As gas prices continue to rise, you may see more people getting around on foot. Pedestrian traffic is especially dense in shopping districts, school zones, parking lots, and near parks and tourist attractions. Remain alert to the presence of pedestrians and always yield the right of way when a pedestrian is crossing the street.
- Bicycling: Bike lanes, also known as green lanes, are a common feature in many cities. Motorists need to remember that bicyclists have the same rights as cars and trucks in most traffic scenarios. Bicyclists, in turn, must respect the rights of pedestrians.
- Scooters: Electric scooters are available in many cities, and a person can pick one up with the click of an app. These devices are not always reliably maintained, and the people who operate them do not always know how to do so safely. A sudden acceleration into an intersection can place a scooter rider directly into the path of a car or truck, creating a potentially fatal hazard.
As new forms of transportation reach the market, so do the risks associated with faulty product design. A person who is injured in an accident involving a scooter, hoverboard, or even a more conventional product such as a bicycle may have legal recourse against the manufacturer as well as an at-fault driver.
Legal risks persist
We can all help out to create a safer driving environment, even when novel forms of transportation appear on our streets and roads. When an accident does occur and negligence is to blame, victims should know and protect their rights. The risk of legal injustice will not go away even when gas prices return to normal.