Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is a major responsibility, but for those who have been driving for years the weight of this responsibility can feel lessened. A car accident can happen at any point, regardless of how safe a driver may be, which is why reminding oneself of the dangers of the road is so important. This can help anybody start practicing tips that allow them to avoid a car accident, specifically by predicting when one may be about to occur.
How Common Are Car Accidents?
While it may not be a pleasant thought to consider, car accidents are quite common around the world. On average, 13 car accidents occur every minute, going to show just how dangerous roadways can be. This statistic includes car crashes with traditional vehicles, motorcycles, pedestrians, and a variety of other vehicle types.
It’s worth noting that not all of these car accidents resulted in fatalities or even injuries, as a car accident is technically just two cars hitting each other. Therefore, breaking down how many of these accidents actually results in death or damage to the body is important.
Fatalities vs. Injuries in Crashes
On an annual global basis, over 1.35 million people die as a result of injuries sustained during a car accident. Going further, there were 40-50 million reported injuries resulting from accidents that did not turn into fatalities. This means that a majority of car accidents do result in some type of injury, regardless of how small that injury may be.
7 Leading Causes for Crashes
Considering the above statistics, it’s beneficial to learn what the leading causes of car accidents are so that you can understand when one might be about to occur. The following seven causes of accidents are most commonly seen:
1. Driving in poor weather conditions
No driver should attempt driving in weather they are completely unfamiliar with as this can quickly lead to an accident. Regardless of whether it is heavy rain that makes the road slick, whiteout conditions due to snowfall, or an inability to control a vehicle due to hurricane level winds, poor weather can lead to many accidents.
2. Driving while drowsy
Driving while you are tired can almost be as dangerous as being at the legal limit for alcohol intake if you have gone over 24 hours without sleep. This creates a danger for a person falling into a microsleep that takes their attention and ability to drive away, which can quickly lead to an accident.
3. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
While it has been ingrained into most people since they were young, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol still occurs today. This can lead to impaired decision making, impaired vision, and a general impacted ability to drive a motor vehicle. Even if you have only had a little bit of drugs or alcohol, never get behind the wheel of a car. Take the time to call a rideshare service instead.
4. Driving while distracted
An often-overlooked cause of accidents on roadways around the world is distracted driving. Whether it is checking a cellphone, eating food, or simply being distracted by someone talking in the car, there are many reasons a person may lose focus on the road. However, brake checking accidents have been a growing issue in the U.S. and all it takes is removing your eyes from the road for half a second to find yourself rear-ending someone.
5. Road hazards in the middle of the road
There are many items that can somehow get into the middle of a road which can lead to drivers taking evasive action. However, this evasive action can often put them into the path of other drivers and lead to an accident. Always scan far enough ahead in the road so that it can be seen whether or not a lane change should occur.
6. Reckless driving
General reckless driving is another cause of car accident in the United States and around the world. Whether it’s speeding on the road, violating traffic laws, or something similar, not obeying the rules of the road is a quick way to get into an accident. Remember that you cannot control the actions of other drivers, though, which means you need to be defensive on the road.
7. Vehicle malfunctions
Finally, vehicle malfunctions are an unthought about consequence of an aging car that can quickly lead to an accident. Should a vehicle breakdown on the freeway, it can quickly lead to a pileup with a multitude of other vehicles. Take care of preventative maintenance with your car on a regular basis so that you can be sure it is road-safe and will not endanger other drivers.
Tips for Avoiding a Car Accident
With all of the above common causes of car accidents in mind, it’s worth looking at helpful ways to avoid being in a car accident in the first place. Here are some key tips to keep in mind:
- Leave at least three to four seconds of space between your vehicle and other vehicles
- Scan the road for twelve seconds ahead of your car to look for road hazards
- Practice driving in all weather conditions in a controlled environment
- Allow reckless drivers to move around you, rather than trying to avoid them
- Always have an escape plan if the road becomes too dangerous to continue
The Bottom Line
No driver wants to find their day ruined by being involved in a car accident. Despite the fact that only a small portion of car accidents end in a fatality, that doesn’t mean a person won’t be seriously injured in a crash. This can lead to long-lasting repercussions and costs that aren’t easily manageable. Therefore, learn how to avoid a car accident at all costs, but if one does occur don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney if you think a lawsuit is applicable.