Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is a major responsibility that should not be taken lightly, regardless of how many years a person has been driving. There are countless dangers which can present themselves on the road that may require a quick reaction time and total focus in order to avoid a crash. All drivers should take the time to remind themselves of the risk that roadways pose by looking at the common causes for car accidents. Beyond this, however, they should also remind themselves on what to do in the unfortunate event an accident does occur.
How Dangerous Are Roadways Globally?
To put the true dangers of roads around the world into perspective, it’s important to look at some key statistics regarding car accidents. On a global scale, car accidents are responsible for 50 million injures and 1.3 million deaths on an annual basis. While not every single one of those 50 million injuries are life-threatening, it is still a serious problem that a person may need to deal with for the rest of their life.
For people in the United States alone, specifically those aged up to 54, road accidents are the leading unnatural cause of death. Considering these statistics, learning the common causes for car accidents, along with how to avoid them, can help a person avoid bolstering those figures.
The Leading Cause of Wrecks on the Road
Car accidents are frightening experiences, partially because they can have a variety of causes. In fact, crashes that involve only one vehicle are also common, despite many people believing that a car accident will only occur if another vehicle is present. With that said, the below situations are the leading causes for car accidents on roadways today:
- Distracted drivers not paying attention
In the 21st century, new technology has given the world many gifts, but it has also created many distractions which some people choose to indulge while on the road. Whether it be checking texts, changing the music on a streaming platform, or even choosing to video chat with somebody on the road, smartphones present a danger to drivers.
On top of this, modern cars come with modern technology, such as digital dashboards that even offer streaming video platforms in some cars. As a driver, focus on reducing any and all potential distractions so that you have less risk of crashing your vehicle.
- Driving in poor weather conditions
Poor weather is one of the most common causes for car accidents on the road simply due to the fact that many drivers are unfamiliar with the conditions they find themselves in. Slick roads or limited visibility can quickly lead to a driver panicking and making a move they shouldn’t on the road. This can lead to a car accident with either themselves or others involved. Try to practice driving in poor weather conditions in a safe environment to prepare yourself for if poor weather ever arises.
- Drivers acting recklessly on the road
Speeding has accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities in recent years, with other forms of reckless driving contributing to a larger margin as well. Whether it be violating traffic laws or acting in a manner which endangers others, reckless driving has no place on the road due to its dangers. Should a person see another driver acting erratically, they should give that driver enough distance.
- Drivers being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Impaired driving is a major cause of car accidents on a global scale. It’s important to never get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have been drinking or ingesting drugs in any way. Choose to have a designated driver or take a rideshare service if you are planning on going anywhere for a celebration.
- Driving through rough road conditions
In some cases, the cause of an accident may not be the actions of a driver. Poorly designed roadways or roads which have a hazard in them can also cause a car accident, which is why all drivers need to stay vigilant and watchful ahead of them on the road.
Tips for Avoiding a Car Accident While Driving
Understanding the above causes of car accidents is one thing but avoiding the accidents in the first place is another. Use the following tips to lower your risk of being involved in a wreck:
- Leave at least 3-4 second between cars: An easy way to reduce the risk of an accident is to leave enough following distance between vehicles. Aim for at least three-to-four seconds of space, with even more if possible.
- Scan the road 12 seconds ahead of your vehicle: To ensure any potential road hazards or traffic are spotted with enough time in advance, scan the road 12 seconds ahead of the vehicle so that evasive action can be taken if necessary.
- Practice driving in poor weather: As mentioned, poor weather conditions are a leading cause of car accidents on roadways. Due to this, all drivers should train themselves to drive in any weather condition they may face in a safe manner. Whether that means visiting a parking lot on a stormy day or even practicing just on the street, get used to non-perfect weather
- Keep your car maintained properly: Finally, all drivers should handle preventative maintenance on their vehicle which keeps the parts under their hood in working order to prevent breakdowns while driving.
Stay safe while driving today
Despite there being countless dangers on the road, any driver can be prepared to face those dangers so long as they are prepared. Rather than practicing unsafe driving which may have been ingrained over the years, absorb each of the above common causes for car accidents to learn how to spot when a wreck may be about to occur. This can help by allowing a person more time to react and potentially avoid the accident in the first place. Should a car accident occur, however, always check for injuries and contact an attorney if it is believed that the other person acted with negligence.