The 10 Most Common Causes of Car Accidents, and What You Can Do About It
Car accidents now take over 40,000 lives per year and cause injuries to over 4.5 million Americans. A huge majority of these incidents are because of human error. The driver could be the cause or it could be other people like the passenger or a pedestrian.
This is why road safety has become an important subject to tackle. It’s especially true in this age when most Americans are taking their car to work or for errands.
As a part of road safety, it’s also important to learn the most common causes of car accidents. Read below to learn about them and how to avoid it.
1. Going Over the Speed Limit
Speed limits aren’t there to restrict drivers, they’re there to prevent accidents. When you’re speeding, it will be harder to stop for something unexpected. Braking all of a sudden is also dangerous for you, pedestrians, and other drivers, too.
This is why those speeding often hit trees or go off the road when trying to avoid something.
Take note of speed limits in certain zones, as well. In a school zone, for example, the speed limit may be anywhere from 15 mph to 25 mph.
2. Driving Under the Influence
Alcohol and drugs impair your motor skills and, thus, your driving abilities. The problem is that people under the influence overestimate their sobriety, and so you’ll often see them on the road.
They may be unaware of how fast they’re going or they may not react the proper way to something unexpected. They may also go through a red light without knowing (or without care) or hit a pedestrian with the right of way.
3. Running Over or Avoiding Potholes
Potholes can cause serious damages to your car when you run over them, especially at a high speed. It can make you lose control of your car and it can even cause a tire to blow out. When it happens in the middle of the road, your car can cause an accident with other motorists.
To prevent that from happening, many drivers try to avoid potholes by swerving. However, this can also cause an accident when there’s oncoming traffic or when the car behind you is taken by surprise.
4. Inclement Weather
Rain and snow can create hazardous conditions for cars and drivers. Water and ice make roads slippery, making it harder to control your car as there’s less friction. Falling rain and snow plus fog may also affect visibility, which can lead to accidents.
In such cases, you must drive at a slower pace so you don’t lose control of your car. You’ll be able to brake when needed and not skid or slide like you would at a high speed. You must also have the right tires for snow if you live in a cold area.
5. Driving at Night
Drivers have low visibility at night, especially in areas where there’s not much activity at nightfall. Even if there are fewer cars on the road, the risks of an accident can double if a driver can’t see the hazards ahead.
Plus, a person driving at night could be drowsy and tired, which could lead to them falling asleep at the wheel or not paying proper attention while driving.
6. Getting Distracted
Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents. It’s not drunk or speeding drivers, and not even drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Getting distracted, i.e. looking away from the road to do other things like look at the passengers, get something from your bag, or using your cellphone, can be disastrous as you won’t get alerted of potential hazards in front of you. You won’t see a car driving toward you or a car braking in front of you, for example.
7. Reckless Driving
In driving, there’s only one rule to follow – and that is to be predictable. That means going when the light is green or when it’s your right of way, not stopping to let pedestrians through when it’s not right for them to cross the street, changing lanes at the right pace, and following the imposed speed limits among others.
When you do something unpredictable, you’re not giving the other cars around you enough time to react. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing something out of good will, you may still cause accidents.
8. Running a Red Light and/or Stop Signs
There are plenty of reasons to be in a hurry, but none are good enough for running a red light that could endanger lives. You’re not only breaking the law when you do so, but you’re also risking getting hit by the traffic going through a green light.
Furthermore, those who run red lights often do so at unbelievable speeds. This would cause even greater damage upon impact.
9. Driving the Wrong Way
If you drive the wrong way, other cars going the right way won’t expect you or you may not expect them. If neither of you stops in time, there’s bound to be a collision, which may also affect other cars as well.
Watch out for one-way streets; there should be signs indicating whether you can enter the street or not. With that said, watch out for cars driving the wrong way or doing an improper turn, as well.
10. Car Defects
While human error accounts for most of the causes of car crashes, your car manufacturer can be at fault. Your car may be sporting some defect that has caused the accident, which may be unique to your car or the fault is in the design or the vehicle itself.
Take note of car recalls in the past involving the model of your vehicle. Also, make sure to take in your car for regular preventive maintenance. If you spot any problems, take the time to have it checked by a professional right away.
What’s Next After Knowing the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
If you or someone you know were ever in a car-related accident, know that there are laws in place to handle the punishment to the offending driver and compensation for your injuries. It all starts with identifying who was at fault and the causes of car accidents.
If you do find yourself or someone you know in an accident, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. Contact us today to discuss the proper steps you should take when in an auto accident.