Even at a time when road safety awareness is at an all-time high, car crashes still happen. So, what causes most car accidents? Find out here.
Every day, slightly over 3,000 people lose their lives in road crashes. Stretch this to one year and we’re staring at a heart-breaking 1.25 million deaths – globally. The picture gets even darker when you consider that 20-50 million people are left with physical injuries or disabilities.
Ironically, the number of road crashes doesn’t seem to be declining even though governmental and non-governmental organizations are always running safe driving awareness campaigns.
So, why do road crashes keep happening?
In this article, we’re looking into what causes most car accidents and sharing a few tips on what you can do to stay safe on the road.
Driving While Distracted
Most drivers are guilty of distracted driving. But if you’ve never got into an accident as a result of this habit, it’s easy to think you’ll always get away with it.
Sorry to break the bad news to you, but distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents in the United States and beyond. Here’s a list of activities that qualify as distracted driving:
- Using your phone when driving
- Taking your eyes off the road
- Taking your hands off the staring wheel
- Taking your mind off driving
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Using a navigation system
- Turning on the stereo and tuning the radio
- Talking to a passenger
In short, doing anything that takes your attention off the road makes you a distracted driver.
Sure, there are technologies designed to make multi-tasking when driving easier, but, in truth, they only make you likelier to crash. For instance, one can argue that using a Bluetooth headset to answer a call when driving doesn’t take your eyes off the road, but your mind will be distracted.
The solution? Don’t drive when distracted. That call can wait. That latte can wait, too.
In the U.S., 29 people die every day as a result of impaired driving.
Impaired driving happens when a driver gets behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that affects mental judgment and physical balance.
Alcohol-impaired driving is rampant. You certainly know at least one person who has driven while drunk (assuming that person isn’t you!)
The big question is: why do people drive while drunk even when the dangers are obvious?
The biggest reason is the blood-alcohol concentration limit.
In the States, you’re legally good to drive if your BAC level doesn’t rise to 0.08% or higher. Unfortunately, being within the legal limits doesn’t mean you’re fit to drive. Even a glass of wine can be enough to impair your judgment and put you and other road users at risk.
Another reason people drink and drive is that they have a strong sense of trust in their driving skills. If you regularly drink and drive and have never caused an accident, you could start believing that you’re a competent driver even when under the influence.
This is a false belief. You have simply been a lucky person, and sooner or later your luck will run out.
We get it.
Maybe you’ve just bought a sports car and you’re enthusiastic about testing out its performance on the open road. You end up not only speeding past the legal limits, but also pushing the car beyond its performance limits.
Speeding amounts to reckless driving, and it’s one of the most common causes of driving in the United States.
Changing lanes quickly, running red lights, failing to indicate when switching lanes or making a turn also make you a reckless driver and a danger to other road users. Whether you’re late for work or rushing a patient to the hospital, it’s important to be calm and observe all traffic rules.
Be your brother’s keeper, too. Remind the people around you to drive carefully, because regardless of how competently your drive, another reckless driver can ram into your car. If this ever happens to you, be sure to hire a car accident lawyer to help you get the justice you deserve.
It’s not always humans are at fault for road crashes. Sometimes poor weather, such as rain or snow, is the culprit. But even then, it’s hard to completely exonerate human input from weather-related road crashes.
Let’s say, there are heavy rains.
As a driver, you’ve to make a choice between driving in the rains and letting it subside before hitting the road. If you choose to drive in the heavy rains, what awaits you is a slippery road and poor visibility. If you get into an accident, it’s evident you’re partly to blame.
Yes, poor weather is inevitable, but drivers have to exercise caution and proper judgment. If the conditions are poor, don’t drive. And if they aren’t so bad, drive carefully and ensure your car is equipped for such weather. If it’s snowy, for instance, ensure your car has snow tires.
The same goes for night driving.
Although driving at night doesn’t pose as much danger as driving in poor weather, it helps to be extra-attentive. Ensure all your headlights are functioning properly and that you have good eyesight.
Slacking With Car Maintenance
In a 2018 study of 2,000 Americans, 68 percent of respondents admitted that their cars have at least one unfixed problem – but drive it anyway.
If you don’t repair your car, you’re calling for trouble. While a slightly faulty car might drive just fine, you just can’t know whether the problem is getting worse. Things will eventually go wrong, and when they do, lives might be at risk.
As a general rule thumb, never get behind the wheel if you aren’t confident that your car is in good mechanical condition. If you’re aren’t, call a mechanic or leave it home and use alternative means.
That’s What Causes Most Car Accidents
When you get on the road, the last thing on your mind is getting into an accident. However, the danger is always there. But now that you know what causes most car accidents, you should be in a better position to avoid a crash.
Yes, some causes are out of your control, but for the most part, avoiding car crashes boils doing to safe driving and exercising sound judgment.
Good luck, and if you get into an accident that’s not your fault, here’s what to do.