Understanding the leading car accident causes can help you avoid the unwanted consequences of accidents. Getting into a car accident (whether minor or severe) can lead to loss of earnings, pain or suffering, permanent disabilities, and more.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics, about 94% of all road accidents are caused by human error. This means that most automobile accidents are preventable most of the time. Before you hit the road, you need to take basic safety precautions to prevent or decrease the chances of injury in case of an accident.
What Are the Leading Car Accident Causes?
Knowing some of the most prevalent causes of automobile accidents and how to avoid them can help you stay safer on the road.
Here are five leading car accident causes:
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is currently one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in the United States. Distracted drivers focus on something other than the road, such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating.
How to avoid it: Please pay attention to the road while driving. Avoid making calls, texting, reading, eating, applying makeup, and talking to passengers while behind the wheel. Even though texting, talking on the phone, and checking social media while driving have become relatively normalized, this does NOT mean it’s safe to do these things. Use your phone’s built-in safety settings to silence your notifications while driving so that you’re not tempted to reach for your phone.
2. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs
It’s illegal and extremely dangerous to consume alcohol before driving, even in small quantities. Until your body has metabolized the alcohol, your sight, motor coordination, reaction time, and judgment will all suffer from some impairment. The combination of these factors increases the risk of getting into a car accident.
Whether legal or illegal, over-the-counter or prescription, taking drugs before driving can also be dangerous. Some over-the-counter prescription drugs can dull a driver’s senses and cause fatigue, leading to costly mistakes on the road.
How to avoid it: Never get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ensure you’re sober and your mind is clear to have complete control over your body before hitting the road. If you’re going out to drink, always have a designated driver or call a taxi in case you consume one too many drinks.
Drivers speed because it is a habit they have developed or they are running behind their schedule. For some, driving is a release valve for heightened emotions and they enjoy the rush of exceeding the speed limit. Unfortunately, by speeding, drivers also put the lives of other road users at risk.
Speeding also increases the risk of losing control due to weather-related road conditions like rain, snow, or ice. The force of impact will also be higher in accidents involving speeding, resulting in more serious injuries.
How to avoid it: Being in a hurry when driving is never a good idea. You may not only receive a speeding ticket, but the faster you go, the less time you will have to stop to avoid a collision. Only use the left lane to pass, since most highway crashes happen in the fast lane where vehicles frequently speed.
4. Driving While Fatigued or Drowsy
Driving while tired or drowsy is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Drowsy drivers nod off at the wheel for a second or two, which can be long enough for a vehicle to crash. Even drivers who do not fall asleep behind the wheel experience decreased reaction times and impaired decision-making, resulting in collisions.
How to avoid it: Get adequate sleep, and avoid driving at the end of a long day whenever possible. Schedule long road trips to begin soon after waking up to prevent drowsiness from taking over mid-trip, and plan to take breaks to step out of the car and stretch. Stay alert and awake. Whenever you feel too tired to drive, it’s best to stay home and rest or find alternate means of transportation.
5. Reckless Driving
If you don’t drive cautiously, you can find yourself in a car accident that could have been avoided. Reckless drivers frequently speed, fail to observe traffic lights, disobey road signs, change lanes too quickly, or tailgate, often causing traffic accidents. Reckless drivers are generally impatient in traffic, so be cautious around these drivers.
How to avoid it: Always remain calm and alert while driving. Give yourself plenty of time to travel to your destination to reduce impatience while driving as it can lead to disaster on the road. It’s essential to stick to the speed limit and obey the road signs and signals to arrive safely at your destination.
Avoid driving too close to other cars so that you can react in time if the vehicle in front of you brakes suddenly. You can avoid accidents caused by tailgating by giving the car in front of you a one-car-length buffer for every 10 miles per hour you drive. This buffer will allow your brakes enough time to bring your car to a stop.
Involved in a Car Accident? Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
Most road accidents are avoidable and occur due to poor driving habits. Drivers should understand the leading car accident causes to safeguard themselves and those around them while on the road. To avoid potential accidents, drivers should drive responsibly, obey traffic rules, and adhere to speed limits.
However, even the most cautious and alert drivers still experience motor vehicle accidents. Injuries sustained in a wreck can cause you to miss time at work, accumulate steep medical bills, and suffer from enduring pain.
Aside from needing money for car repairs, you deserve compensation for an accident caused due to another party’s negligence. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, a personal injury attorney can fight for your rights. Call today for a free, no-obligation consultation.