Car accidents are a major potential downside of getting behind the wheel, but driving has become a necessary part of life for most people. Over 42,000 people died on a yearly basis as a result of car accidents, which goes to show the importance of learning how to avoid this event. The first step in learning how to avoid a car accident, however, involves identifying what the most common causes for accidents are.
7 of the Most Common Car Accident Causes
As mentioned, a person needs to understand what the most common car accidents are in order to spot the signs that one may be about to occur. While a car accident can happen for any reason, the below seven causes are among the most common culprits:
In the modern age, distracted driving has become an even more common cause for car accidents. Cell phone devices such as the iPhone have presented new stimulants for drivers out on the road. Texting and calling are among the primary causes for distracted driving accidents, but even taking your eyes of the road to change music on your device is deadly and illegal. If you notice a driver near you continuously glancing away from the road, keep extra distance between yourself and them.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence is illegal in the United States of America. On a daily basis, roughly 32 people die from drunk driving accidents, with more on top of that when taking into account other drugs. If you see someone swerving erratically on the road or changing speeds on a whim, it’s possible they are under the influence. Leave extra space between you and that vehicle and attempt to contact the authorities if it safe to do so.
Driving While Tired
A lesser recognized cause of car accidents is simply driving while exhausted. We’ve all been on a road trip where it seems to never end, but when you feel your eyes start to droop it’s best to get off the road. If there is another driver in the car, pull over and allow them to take over driving duties so that you can get some rest.
Speeding While Driving
Speeding is another common cause for car accidents. Over the last two decades, speeding has been present for one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities that have occurred, going to show how deadly it can be. If you notice a driver speeding rapidly in your rearview mirror, it’s best to maintain your lane and allow them to pass you, as opposed to quickly switching lanes to get out of the way.
At the end of the day, some drivers choose to drive in a manner that knowingly presents a risk to all others on the road. Reckless driving is another common cause of car accident that is difficult to prevent. As a driver, always signal your intentions, follow speed laws, and adhere to the rules of the road rather than making your own rules.
Driving During Poor Weather
Poor weather conditions can cause a large number of accidents, especially when they occur in areas that don’t usually receive that type of weather. For example, the first rainfall in most states is the most dangerous, as the rain lifts many oils from the road that can create slick conditions. Always drive slower in bad weather to help prevent accidents.
Hazards in the Road
Finally, hazards in the road can cause drivers to make quick and unexpected lane changes that can cause accidents. While it’s not possible to always avoid an object on the road, do your best to scan the road ahead of time to give yourself more reaction time.
How to Avoid Getting Into a Car Accident
In the long run, car accidents can result in injuries that don’t show symptoms until later in life, making it all the more important to avoid an accident in its entirety if possible. Below are some of the best strategies for avoiding a wreck:
Handle Business on Your Phone Before Driving
While it can be tempting to touch your phone when a song you hate comes on, avoid doing it at all costs. Set your music and send any texts you need to prior to taking your car out of park and answer any phone calls in a hands-free manner to prevent distracted driving on the road.
Limit Night Driving as Much as Possible
While driving at night is impossible to avoid in its entirety, try to limit the amount of time you spend on the road at night. Besides increasing the likelihood that you’re tired, night driving comes with reduced visibility that can pose a danger to you and other drivers on the road.
Handle Preventative Maintenance on Your Vehicle Regularly
Preventative maintenance refers to the regular scheduled checkups all vehicle owners are supposed to handle on their vehicle. These checkups can help prevent major breakdowns from occurring, which can cause an accident if one occurs while you’re on the road. By handling this maintenance ahead of time, you can reduce the risk of an accident.
Follow the 12 Second Rule
When on the road, all drivers should be scanning 12 seconds ahead of them on the road, rather than staring straight ahead. This will allow you to see any road hazards, traffic, or other dangers on the road before they are on top of you.
Follow the 3 Second Rule
Similar to the 12 second rule, all drivers should also adhere to the three second rule. This refers to keeping a three second gap between you and the car in front of you. To test this, pick a marker on the road such as a street sign, and wait to start counting until the car in front of you reaches it. Ideally, it will take you three seconds or longer to reach the same point.
Stay safe out on the open road
Keeping yourself safe behind the wheel of a vehicle is incredibly important for your health and the health of other drivers. However, you can’t control the actions of other drivers which is why contacting a lawyer when an accident occurs should also be a priority. If there is disagreement over who caused the wreck or issues with insurance providing compensation, a lawyer can help you get what is rightfully yours.