Driver Error is the #1 Cause of Car Accidents
Even with today’s technological advances and increased emphasis on safety, car accidents still occur in ever-increasing numbers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of car accidents has been increasing year-over-year since 2011 with over 7.2 million crashes occurring in 2016, the most recent year statistics are available. Of those 2016 crashes, over 2.1 million people were injured and over 34,000 people died.
According to the NHTSA, the leading cause of car accidents is driver error, but the nature of the errors varies. Therefore, it is important to understand what the most common causes are so you can help prevent them. Driver error includes a multitude of different scenarios:
1) Distracted Driving
We covered the topic of distracted driving in the article “The Crisis of Distracted Driving.” The ability to multitask has been proven a myth by numerous research studies. The human brain simply cannot do two things at once, rather we task switch, which means when we are performing a task while driving, we aren’t paying attention to the road and what’s happening around us. Minimize all distractions while you’re driving.
2) Alcohol & Drugs
Driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs contributes to a significant portion of overall car accidents numbers. According to the NHTSA, alcohol-related car accidents accounted for approximately 29% of fatalities in 2016. Never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. And remember: Driving buzzed is driving drunk.
3) Driving While Fatigued
Fatigue slows reaction time thus increasing the likelihood of an accident. It also increases your risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. If you’re tired, pull over.
4) Reckless Driving
Tailgating, aggressive driving, changing lanes too quickly, and road rage are all considered reckless driving. Take your time, remain calm, keep a safe distance from the vehicles in front of you, and use your turn signal. These things can all go a long way to avoiding an accident.
Speeding is considered reckless driving, but it contributes so significantly in the overall total number of crashes that it gets mentioned separately. Speed limits are recommended for areas for a reason, slow down, and obey speed limits.
6) Running Red Lights & Stops Signs
Red means stop, green means go. Most people don’t run red lights or stop signs on purpose so limiting your distractions can help prevent doing it accidentally. Never do it on purpose either, even if you think no other vehicles are around.
7) Wrong-Way Driving
Driving the wrong way down a one-way street happens more often than you think. Be aware of street signs and other unusual traffic patterns. If you’re in an area you’re not familiar with, it’s best to map out the route you want to take in advance.
There are also several non-driver related causes of car accidents too. Here are some of the most common causes of non-driver related car accidents:
8) Condition of the Road
Whether a road has been properly maintained can be a contributing factor in causing an accident. Uneven lanes, potholes, and loose gravel could interfere with your ability to maintain control of the vehicle. By law, a driver should observe and be aware of the general condition of the surface being driven on and adjust driving to meet the conditions. Try to avoid roads that haven’t been properly maintained and slow down if you need to.
Moisture on the road, including snow, rain, and ice, can interfere with your ability to stop. Other factors like fog, heavy rain, or snow may impair your visibility. If possible, don’t travel during unsafe weather conditions but if you must, slowing down is always a good option.
It’s important to properly maintain your vehicle as worn brakes could mean not stopping in time and old tires could mean less traction going around corners. Ensure your tires have the proper tread and your brakes are in good working order. Have your vehicle checked regularly and take note of any recalls to help reduce the possibility of other mechanical failures that could cause an accident.
11) Animal Crossings
Hitting large animals, such as deer, can cause significant damage to your vehicle. Be cautious when driving at sunset, when animals become active, and when you see an animal crossing sign. Use your high beams when traveling in rural areas where animals are common.
If you’ve suffered an injury due to a car accident that wasn’t your fault, VanDerGinst Law would be honored to help you with your personal injury claim. The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we win. If you suffered an injury contact VanDerGinst Law, P.C. at 800-960-8529. The law is tough and being injured is tougher. We’ll make it easier for you.