Summer is the peak of the visitor season here in Virginia Beach. Traffic everywhere — and of all kinds — is busier than ever. To help you navigate the congestion, we’ve collected some basic tips that will help visitors (and residents) travel safely in and around Virginia Beach this summer.
Road Traffic and Driving Safely
Most visitors drive to Virginia Beach. Roads are also the main way that everyone gets around here. Highways, roads, and streets are all crowded in summer, so extra care and attention is necessary.
Cellphones and Driving in Virginia
If you are visiting from another state, you should be aware that Virginia traffic and accident laws are likely to be somewhat different than those in your home state. One important law to know is Virginia’s law on texting while driving.
The law prohibits drivers under the age of 18 from using a cellphone for any reason while driving. Adults are prohibited from using any handheld personal communications device (the law not limited to cellphones) to manually enter text or letters — or to read an email or text message — while driving.
You can use a cellphone to read or enter names or numbers. You can also talk on your phone while driving. But texting while driving is a primary offense in Virginia, which means you can be pulled over if a police officer sees you texting or reading messages on your cellphone.
Although you are permitted to talk on your phone while you are driving, even talking on a phone is dangerous. It is a form of distracted driving, which accounts for 80% of accidents in Virginia, as well as nationwide. A driver using a handheld device is 23 times more likely to be in an accident than a driver who is not distracted by his or her phone.
When you are driving in traffic that is more crowded than normal — which is always the case in Virginia Beach in the summer — using a cellphone in any manner while driving is extremely dangerous. It puts you, your passengers, and everyone traveling around you at risk of an accident.
Defensive Driving in Busy Traffic
Driving in summer beach traffic can be a challenge. It often requires a lot of patience, as well as being more attentive than usual to potential accidents.
One driving task that can be more difficult in busy traffic is being alert to blind spots. Knowing where the blind spots are around your own car, other passenger vehicles, and large trucks will help keep you and your family safe. Our recent blog post on understanding and preventing blind spot accidents serves as an excellent refresher course for anyone navigating crowded highways and streets.
Mopeds and motorcycles are plentiful in and around Virginia Beach, especially during the summer beach season. That means all drivers must use extra care to be on the lookout for them and be attentive when driving in the vicinity of a motorcycle or moped. We’ve compiled basic information about motorcycle accident prevention to help everyone drive safely around these smaller vehicles. The article also suggests ways that moped riders and motorcyclists can stay out of harm’s way.
Additional information about Virginia traffic laws is available in our post about commonly broken Virginia vehicle laws. Since traffic law violations often lead to accidents, knowing the laws that are most often violated can help you avoid an accident.
Finally, if you are in an accident on your vacation in Virginia Beach, you should know what to do after the accident. In addition, our state’s laws will determine responsibility and compensation for any injuries. Both of those topics are addressed in our blog post written specifically for Virginia Beach visitors about what to do if you’re in a car accident.
Bicycle Safety in Virginia Beach
Many visitors bring their own bikes to the beach. Bicycle rentals are also available. Bikes are a very popular way to get around the city.
There are more than 100 miles of trails in Virginia Beach. We have on-road bike routes, shared-use asphalt paths, and park trails, as well as concrete sidewalks that have been widened for bicycling. The city even has the VB Park Finder app to help you search for parks, facilities, and events.
The city’s trail and bikeway network contributed to our recognition as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Bronze Level by the League of American Bicyclists. A map of our bikeways and trails maps is available online and locally.
Staying safe is essential while you and your family are traveling around the city by bicycle. Under federal and state laws, bicycles are considered to be motor vehicles, with the same rights and duties as people who drive cars.
A Virginia Beach City ordinance permits bicycles to be ridden of city sidewalks, except at Town Center and at the Oceanfront Resort Area. Bicycles are prohibited on I-264 and some other highways.
No matter where you ride, defensive riding and common courtesy are a necessity. When you ride, be sure all family members know these rules before you start your ride:
- When riding on roadways, you are required to obey all traffic laws and signals, including riding on the right side.
- In Virginia, you are allowed to ride two abreast, unless you are impeding traffic.
- Always stop before crossing roads and streets, even on trails.
- Virginia law does not require bicyclists to wear helmets, but everyone should always wear one.
- Use hand signals when turning, and warn before passing another cyclist.
- When riding at dusk or after dark, wear bright clothing (a good idea at any time of day) and use lights.
Vacation Accident Prevention and Risk Awareness
One of the best ways to avoid vacation accidents is to be attentive to the risks. Our tips above will help you avoid motor vehicle and bicycle accidents while traveling around Virginia Beach.
Some of your other vacation activities will be safer if you take precautions there as well. Our safety tips for Virginia Beach recreational opportunities include amusement park safety tips and information about accident risks in boating and boating safety laws.
Finally, if you’re staying at a hotel or resort, your place of accommodation has responsibilities regarding your safety. If an accident occurs on the property, Virginia premises liability rules will apply.
Talk With a Trusted Virginia Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
If the unexpected does happen on your Virginia Beach vacation, and you suffer serious injuries in an accident that was another person’s fault, Virginia Beach personal injury attorney Jeff Brooke has the experience and skill to help you. At The Jeff Brooke Team, we are fully committed to helping clients and their families recover the compensation they deserve and dedicated to providing exceptional client service as well. Contact us by phone at (757) 785-0837 or by using our online contact form.
Jeff Brooke is a personal injury attorney devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent and careless actions. The Jeff Brooke Team serves all of southeastern Virginia. The firm helps clients in the Greater Tidewater and Greater Hampton Roads areas, including in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, and Chesterfield. The Jeff Brooke Team also handles cases in northeastern North Carolina, including the Outer Banks.