Car accidents can be terrifying and expensive. In many cases, they can be deadly. Nearly 1.3 million people die in vehicle accidents each year with an additional 20-50 million becoming injured or disabled. More people die in car accidents in the United States than by gunshot wounds, obesity, cancer, and heart disease combined. As a result, it is important to recognize the most common causes of car accidents, so you can keep yourself and your family safe.
Driver fatigue is driving when you are simply too tired to continue. This happens most often during long car trips, especially late at night, and accounts for nearly 100,000 accidents yearly. To prevent accidents related to drowsy driving take frequent breaks, share the driving when possible, and avoid driving if you are tired. It is also smart to avoid driving after taking any medications that might make you sleepy.
While the numbers of accidents related to drunk driving have decreased in recent years, it still remains one of the top causes of accidents with over 10,000 deaths since 2004. The solution here is simple: don't drive after drinking. If you have been drinking and need a way home call a friend or a designated driver service.
Tailgating, verbal abuse, swerving between lanes, and speeding are all types of aggressive driving. These account for nearly one-third of all car accidents in the US. To cut down on the risk of an accident as a result of aggressive driving you should allow yourself extra time to account for traffic or other delays. If you find yourself becoming frustrated or anxious just take a deep breath and count to ten.
By far, distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents, topping the numbers attributed to the other three categories combined. Up to 50% of all car accidents are a result of distracted driving, which describes behaviors such as cell-phone use, rubbernecking, or even changing the radio station. To diminish this cause, get a hands-free attachment for your cell phone, so you are trying to navigate the road and your phone at the same time. Don't text and drive. Always pay attention to the road instead of the scenery, children, or other distractions.
Road Related Hazards
While less common, accidents as a result of hazards on the road do happen. The weather, improperly maintained roads, or obstacles cause a significant number of annual accidents. Proper maintenance of your tires and brakes will give you the ability to stop quickly if an animal runs across the roadway, as well as more traction on slippery roads. During inclement weather you should use your hazard lights or pull over until the weather calms down. Furthermore, pay close attention to the road when driving in an unfamiliar areas, so you can identify hazards such as potholes or malfunctioning signals before an accident occurs.
Since most people use their cars daily it is easy to forget how dangerous driving can be. Despite the frequency of car accidents, they can be prevented. As you can see, a lot of auto accidents happen as a result of a driver who was not paying adequate attention to the road. By paying careful attention to your surroundings, you can keep your car—and your family—safe.
For more information on car accidents and the ensuing legal ramifications of them, contact a company like Wolter, Beeman & Lynch.