Many drivers who haven’t already experienced them think that a car accident is just something that happens to other people. However, the statistics show that car accidents are very common, and can have serious consequences – both for your health and your wallet.
They are one of the leading causes of death, and they happen for a number of reasons. While a car accident is far from the most pleasant topic to think about, it’s important to do so because it can help inform your driving and keep you safe on the road. The easiest way to learn how to avoid car accidents is to take a look at what causes them, and in that vein – here are the 7 most common causes of a car accident.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents. While sharing his professional experience in dealing with these cases, a lawyer from the Buckingham Barrera Vega law firm explained that taking your eyes off the road for even a split second can lead to very serious and unfortunate consequences. Texting, using your phone to check the map, eating, talking to passengers, and adjusting the radio are all common distractions that can lead to an accident. If you need to do any of these things, it’s always better to wait until you can find a safe place to pull over. While it may seem like a hassle, it’s definitely worth it to avoid being involved in an accident.
2. Drunk Driving
Drunk driving is a well-known cause of car accidents, and it’s responsible for countless deaths every year. It’s important to remember that drunk driving isn’t just limited to people who are visibly intoxicated – even if you’ve had one or two drinks, you’re not legally allowed to get behind the wheel. If you’re planning on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver or take a taxi. While some people are thoroughly irresponsible and go out to drink, planning on driving back home themselves even though they know they’ll be too drunk to drive, others simply overestimate their abilities and alcohol tolerance. If you get a DUI, you can expect to pay high fines, or lose your driver’s license – and that’s only if you didn’t harm anyone while driving under the influence. Of course, there are steps you can take to protect yourself in this situation as well, however, the consequences of drunk driving can hardly be overstated. It’s important to know that even one glass of wine can impair your judgment – leading you not only to believe that you’re capable of driving when you’re not but also to take more risks on the road.
One of the most common causes of accidents is speeding. A driver who is going too fast for the conditions can’t react in time to avoid a crash and often isn’t able to stop their car before hitting another object. Speed is a factor in almost one-third of all fatal crashes. Of course, it’s not just speeding that can be dangerous – it’s also driving too fast for the conditions. If it’s raining or snowing, for example, you need to adjust your speed accordingly. Even if you’re sticking to the speed limit, you can still be involved in an accident if there are other cars on the road that are going too fast. In a similar sense, you need to adjust your speed to how you’re feeling. If you’re tired, stressed, or angry, and have to drive – you should always drive slower than you normally would because your reaction time won’t be as quick.
When a driver gets too close to the car in front of them, they can’t see what’s happening up ahead and they’re more likely to rear-end the car in front of them if they have to brake suddenly. It’s actually one of the aspects of aggressive driving, and it’s responsible for many accidents each year. To avoid being in a situation where you might have to brake suddenly, make sure you keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you. Not only is this safer for you, but it can also help reduce congestion on the road. That said, it’s also important not to leave too big of a gap between your car and the one in front of you because other drivers might try to use that to cut in line unexpectedly. Besides being annoying, it can also lead to accidents since there might not be enough space for you to react in time and avoid them.
When drivers see an accident or something else that’s causing a traffic jam, they often slow down or stop in order to get a better look. This is known as rubbernecking, and it can cause major traffic jams – and sometimes even more accidents. That way, you won’t be contributing to the traffic jam and you won’t be putting yourself in danger by rubbernecking. Of course, if you see an accident, but don’t have a reason to believe help is on the way, you should try calling an ambulance and seeing if you can help in any way. Make sure to turn your blinkers on and pull over to the side of the road as soon as it’s safe to do so. However, if the ambulance is already on the scene, it’s best to stay away so that emergency personnel can do their job.
6. Road Rage
Road rage is another form of aggressive driving, and it can be extremely dangerous. It’s when a driver gets angry and lashes out at other drivers, often with violence. This can lead to accidents, as well as injuries to the drivers involved in the road rage incident. To avoid getting into a situation where you might start feeling road rage, it’s important to stay calm and be patient while driving. If you’re feeling stressed or angry, take a break from driving and try to relax before getting back on the road. Remember that other drivers make mistakes, and don’t take it personally – even if they cut you off or drive too close to your car.
7. Inclement Weather
Bad weather can often lead to accidents, as drivers aren’t able to see as well and their reaction time is slower. In fact, about 25% of all car accidents are weather-related. Some of the most common types of accidents caused by bad weather are:
- sliding off the road
- falling into a ditch
- hitting a pedestrian or another vehicle
To avoid these types of accidents, it’s important to adjust your driving habits depending on the weather conditions. It’s better to drive slowly and carefully in bad weather than to rush and risk getting into an accident.
These are just a few of the most common causes of car accidents. By being aware of them, you can take steps to avoid them and stay safe on the road. Remember to always drive defensively and be prepared for anything that might happen. And if you do end up in an accident, make sure to stay calm, call for help, and follow all the necessary steps to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.