Car accidents are a leading cause of death and injuries in the United States and abroad. Understanding how they can be prevented is essential to keeping drivers safe on the roads. Learn more about common causes of car accidents and tips to help reduce risks while driving.
Driving while distracted is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Inattentive drivers may not see potential hazards on the road or make crucial split-second decisions that can prevent a crash. To prevent distraction, set your phone out of view, turn off alerts from apps and text messages, and stay focused on the task at hand - driving safely!
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018 alone, distracted driving resulted in over 450 fatal accidents and 40,000 injuries. Various activities can lead to distracted driving such as using a phone for texting or calling, eating, drinking, smoking, interacting with passengers, changing the radio station or CD, daydreaming, and more. Remember that even a few seconds of distraction can put you and other drivers at risk. Stay alert and remain sober while behind the wheel so that everyone gets home safe.
Drowsy or sleepy driving is another common cause of car accidents. Being tired impairs your driving abilities, making you slower to react when faced with potential hazards on the road. You can help prevent drowsy driving by making sure you get adequate sleep before a long drive, taking regular breaks during long trips, and keeping other passengers alert while behind the wheel.
Fatigue also causes a decrease in concentration, leading to ‘zombie’ driving which can make it difficult for drivers to pay attention to the road and remember key safety behaviors such as properly signaling when changing lanes. Drowsy driving is especially dangerous given that it often occurs late at night, or during early morning hours when visibility on the roads is low and traffic is sparse. If you start to feel sleepy while behind the wheel, pull over immediately and take a break. It could save your life.
Poor Road Maintenance and Conditions
Poor road maintenance and conditions can be a factor in many car accidents. Road defects such as potholes, uneven surfaces, loose gravel, or other unrepaired damages can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Drivers should always pay close attention when driving and take extra caution when faced with potential hazards. If you notice any unsafe road conditions, be sure to report them to your local authorities.
Poor road maintenance can also lead to slick surfaces, oil buildup, and other hazardous driving conditions. Driving on slippery roads can cause a decrease in stopping distances which can lead to more serious collisions. Make sure you leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you, especially during rainfall or if you suspect a slick surface. Before heading out on any road trip or long drives, it’s vital to ensure your vehicle is in safe working condition. This includes having reliable tires, brakes that are functioning properly, and your headlights and taillights are in good condition.
Aggressive Driving & Road Rage
Aggressive drivers and road rage are another major cause of car accidents. Aggressive driving and road rage can involve speeding, tailgating, erratic lane changes, honking the horn, yelling or swearing at other drivers and even physical violence. No matter how stressed out you get while driving, it’s important to take your anger out on something other than fellow motorists. If you find yourself becoming angry, take a few deep breaths or pull over until you’ve calmed down.
Aggressive driving wastes both time and fuel, often leading to shorter trips than those who practice safe and courteous driving. Additionally, aggressive driving endangers you and those around you, putting passengers at risk of serious injury if an accident occurs. It can also contribute to higher auto insurance rates. Road rage is a form of aggressive driving that may include physical interactions such as getting out of the car or attempted assault. If another motorist’s behavior is making you angry, do your best to avoid them. Signaling ahead to notify other drivers of your intentions or changing lanes can help prevent road rage incidents.
Impaired Driving (Drunk or Drugged)
Impaired driving—caused by alcohol, drugs or a combination of both—is one of the major causes of car accidents. Impaired driving is especially dangerous because it compromises a driver’s ability to stay in control and make rational judgments on the road. To avoid impaired driving, never get behind the wheel after having had too much to drink or taking a drug that makes you sleepy or alters your mental state. If you think you need help for substance abuse, talk to your doctor about treatment options. You can also call 1-800-662-HELP for free and confidential resources available 24/7.
It is important to always plan ahead for a sober ride when drinking alcohol or using drugs if you plan to drive later. Before going out, designate a sober driver in your group who will not be consuming any substances. Always buckle up when driving and wear a seatbelt as an extra precaution in the case of a crash. It can be the difference between life and death, so make sure your passengers are buckled up too. In addition, follow all traffic laws; be mindful of others on the road and always drive responsibly to avoid potentially fatal car accidents.
If you or a loved one has been recently involved in a car accident caused by any of the above, let Attorney Beharry help navigate you through the legal process and get the money you deserve.