According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT), there are over 37,000 fatalities due to car accidents each year and an additional 2.35 million people are injured or disabled. A large portion of these accidents are due to human error and may lead to serious consequences with the law (and insurance companies) even for those who avoid harm.
Whether you are a new teenage driver, or have been on the roads for decades, it is important to re-evaluate the major causes of accidents every once in a while.
Leading Causes of Car Accidents
- Distracted driving. This is the number one cause of car accidents in the U.S. today. Distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. This includes texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, changing the radio station, inserting an address into the navigation system, etc.
- Speeding is the second most common cause of accidents. Many drivers may be under the impression that there is no harm in going 10 miles over the speed limit. But then suddenly they are 20 over, or 30 over. Going over the speed limit puts other drivers in danger because it reduces their ability to pass, merge, and stop safely. Also, the faster one drives, the lower their response time.
- Drunk driving. People who drive while intoxicated lose their ability to focus on the road and properly handle a vehicle. Statistics show that someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes. If you or your friends plan to drink – do not put yourself or anyone else at risk. Arrange for a designated driver, call a taxi or crash at a friend’s place.
- Reckless driving occurs when drivers change lanes too quickly, purposely drive over the speed limit, and handle their vehicles in an aggressive manner. Reckless drivers are usually impatient in traffic, which can be unnerving for other drivers and lead to dangerous accidents. Before getting in your vehicle, remember to remain calm and that being aggressive is not worth putting your life in danger.
- Weather conditions like rain, ice, and snow can cause even the safest drivers to end up deadly situations. Rain creates slick and dangerous conditions for all drivers and makes everyone on the road more susceptible to spinning out of control or skidding when braking. Ice and snow can cause the same problems, and black ice is another dangerous element that drivers may not even be aware of.
- Running red lights and stop signals has the potential to cause wrongful death accidents because they usually cause side-impact collisions at high speeds.
- Teenage drivers who lack experience may not always know what to do in various situations. Their hesitation may influence how other drivers or pedestrians react, and ultimately lead to accidents.
- Driving at night almost doubles the risk of a car accident occurring. Limited visibility and not knowing what’s coming up slows down a driver’s reaction time. Seniors and teenagers who are on the road at night may be subject to even greater danger.
- Tailgating. Maybe someone is just having a bad day and taking it out on the driver ahead of them, but there is never a good reason for tailgating another driver. Driving too close to another vehicle frequently causes rear-end accidents when one car brakes and the other lacks adequate space to brake safely. Typically, you should give the car in front of you a one-car-length buffer for every 10 mph you drive.