Car accidents are a major risk factor on the roads and for pedestrians too. Over one million people get into fatal car accidents annually, with tens of millions becoming injured. The potential for personal or financial loss is considerable. This could mean losing someone in the family or getting severely injured yourself in a collision. Medical care is expensive, but outpatient or other treatments for longer-term conditions add up quickly too.
To appreciate the risks and do your best to avoid them, here are the most common causes of car accidents.
As any leading law firm will tell you, getting distracted is the largest cause of accidents on the road. It’s number one, especially in modern times. While it used to be that a stray cat (or a deer on country roads) could be the cause of the distraction, these days other causesare at play. Using the smartphone, playing with the satnav, or adjusting the music are all chief distractions that can cause a driver to take their eyes off the road.
Horst Shewmaker sees plenty of cases each year where either the plaintiff or defendant got distracted and an accident resulted. About one-quarter to half of all road accidents occur due to this reason. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just under 10 percent of fatalities in 2016 alone were caused by distracted drivers.
Driving requires being alert to upcoming dangers (and potential hazards to decelerateand avoid them). Being overly tired, sleepy, or fatigued reduces the ability to focus on cars and other factors that need attention to stay safe.
While some drivers fall asleep while driving, others may drift in and out momentarily and that can make all the difference. It’s possible to be overly tired and not see something you’d otherwise notice. Also, reaction times are substantially delayed which, when traveling at speed, can cost the vital seconds needed for stopping time.
Around 25 percent of accidents are caused by tiredness, fatigue, or worse. Of the annual fatalities, up to 20 percent result from this cause.
Aggressive driving, unlike defensive driving, puts the vehicle into places that increase the likelihood of an accident. This form of road rage behind the wheel can be deadly. Up to half of the deaths are attributed to frustration, resentment, or anger changing how normally good drivers behave.
Around 20-30 percent of accidents each year result from aggressive driving, including driving faster than the legal limit.
Under the Influence
Being under the influence of alcohol or other substances causes numerous accidents that would otherwise be avoided. Clear thinking, measured driving, and the ability to react to the actions of other drivers are severely impaired when the driver is under the influence.
Around 20-30 percent of accidents are related to being under the influence and behind the wheel. This is why DUIs are treated so seriously by law enforcement because of the risk to life that it creates.
Avoiding driving while being potentially susceptible to one of the abovecommon causes will keep you safer on the road. Take an Uber if you need to! Also, learning about defensive driving is useful to reduce the instance of accidents caused by other drivers.