The NHTSA reports over 33,000 fatal car accidents in 2019 alone. And that number has been slowly rising over the past decade. How can you ensure you don’t become a statistic?
Understanding the causes of car accidents can help you to avoid causing or being involved in one yourself. Arming yourself with knowledge and practicing common sense on the roads will keep you and other drivers safe. From making sure you don’t drive while tired to hiring the right car accident lawyer, you can take a number of responsible actions.
Read on to learn what you need to do (or not do) to make America’s roads safer.
When you’re running late for work, it might be tempting to go just a bit faster than you know you should. But is shaving a few minutes off your time really worth it?
The statistics show us that the answer to that question is a resounding no. Speeding is one of the leading causes of auto accidents–around one in every three crashes involves someone exceeding the legal speed limit.
And that’s quite apart from the fact that you may get snapped by a speed camera or picked up by the police and fined.
In some cases, a car accident has nothing to do with the driver. You may have swerved into another car because your tire blew out. Perhaps the computer systems in your vehicle short-circuited, causing you to misjudge your speed or fail to indicate on a turn.
If you’ve had an accident due to a mechanical failure, you may be entitled to some compensation from your mechanic or the auto manufacturer. Click here to learn more about car accident attorney services in this and other cases.
Driving Under the Influence
According to the CDC, in one year, 2016, authorities nabbed over 1 million drivers for drink or drug driving.
If you have a drink while out with friends and family, take a taxi home, arrange for someone sober to drive, or ask to stay the night. Given the shocking statistics, the last thing you want to do is get behind the wheel.
Thanks to the educational efforts of organizations like MADD and the IDDPA, driving under the influence is slowly being removed from the list of leading car accident causes.
Running a Red
Similarly to speeding, people usually run a red or ignore a stop sign because they’re running late for work or picking up the kids from school. But traffic authorities install red lights and stop signs at intersections for a very good reason.
Running a red puts you in danger of colliding with traffic going the other way. After all, they’ve got a green light and will likely be driving full tilt through the intersection.
Over half of all traffic accidents occur at intersections, and with both drivers usually speeding, the outcomes of these crashes are often horrific.
Texting, applying makeup in your rearview mirror, eating… All these actions are great when done while the car is stationary. But doing them while driving endangers you, your passengers, and everyone else on the road.
If you’re doing something else while on the road (outside of listening to music or a podcast), you can’t focus 100 percent of your brainpower on the task of driving. With everything going on inside and outside the vehicle, even the most experienced driver puts themselves at a disadvantage by not paying attention.
And if the person you crash into proves you were texting, for example, you may even lose out on filing a car accident claim.
Driving at Night
We drive at night so often that few people are aware of the dangers.
Human beings can’t see well in the dark, and our vision is at a disadvantage at night, despite headlights and streetlights. An alarmingly large number of people even suffer from night blindness, though they may not be diagnosed.
Then there’s the issue of dozing off at the wheel. Never drive while tired, and if you start to feel sleepy, pull over at a safe spot on the side of the road and take a nap. Worryingly, long-term sleep deprivation can also cause collisions, research shows, so make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night.
If you’re driving in a wooded or rural area, keep your high beams on. This is one way to ensure animals like deer, bears, or livestock don’t wander into the path of your car. And be sure to stick to the speed limit designated for that stretch of road.
If you do hit a large animal, stay in the car and call the authorities. Don’t try to clear the animal from the road by yourself, especially at night.
Adverse weather conditions like thick fog or a severe rain, sleet, or snowstorm can reduce visibility and traction.
Icy roads are slippery, and if you’re not used to driving on them or don’t have chains on your tires, you may lose control and hit another vehicle or veer off the road. Likewise, if it’s raining heavily, you might not be able to see what’s in front of you.
If you feel unconfident behind the wheel during a storm, pull over to the side of the road and wait for it to pass.
Protect Yourself Against Causes of Car Accidents
As you can see, the causes of car accidents can be through driver fault or not. If you’re involved in a vehicular crash, and you’re not sure who’s at fault or what to do, contact your insurance company. They’ll offer you advice on the spot and start to process your paperwork.
And if you are driving on the roads and don’t have coverage or legal representation, call an auto accident attorney right away. You never know when an accident might happen, and car repairs are expensive. You also need to protect yourself in case someone takes legal action against you.
Are you looking for more helpful life advice? Browse the other articles on our blog.