Car accidents are unfortunately a daily occurrence in the United States. An average of 1.3 million people are reportedly killed every year in car accidents in the United States. While car accidents are sometimes unavoidable, there are things you can do to protect yourself and be the safest you can be on the road. Below we have listed some of the most common causes of car accidents, as well as what you can do to prevent them.
1. Distracted driving
– Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in the US. Texting, eating, reading, even putting on makeup have been cited as reasons for car accidents. Some people think that using a hands free device for a phone call means they’re not distracted, but studies have shown that even with both hands on the wheel, if you’re talking on the phone you are still distracted. Texts and phone calls can wait until you reach your destination, for your safety and the safety of those around you.
2. Drunk Driving
– Drunk driving is the second largest cause of car accidents in the United states. Even a small amount of alcohol can result in enough impairment to cloud your judgement or reaction time on the road. Always use a designated driver, or call a ride share service like Uber or Lyft to come pick you up.
– Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you’re running late on your way to work or an appointment. No matter how late you are, speeding is never an okay thing to do. You endanger your life, and the lives of others. Speed limits exist for a reason; they are normally the safest speed for a car to navigate the particular turns, curves or obstacles on that road. Going faster means you may not be able to navigate these complications correctly, and may end up in an accident. Always drive the posted speed limit.
4. Reckless Driving
– Abruptly changing lanes, driving aggressively, tailgating, and not utilizing things like mirrors and indicators are all good ways to end up in an accident. Keep calm on the road and drive safely and carefully. Always check your mirrors, and signal before changing lanes.
5. Running Red Lights
– A glance at the intersection seems to make it look like nobody is coming, so you think “why should I wait?” The truth is, even when it doesn’t seem like anyone is coming, a car could be just out of sight and approaching the intersection at a high rate of speed. It’s not worth your life or someone else’s life… most red lights are a minute or less of a wait. Be patient, you’ll get your turn to go when it’s the most safe.
6. Design Defects
– We rely on our cars to get us where we need to go, and we trust them to be safe. Unfortunately, cars are not perfect and sometimes have fatal flaws. Always pay attention to any recall notices your car manufacturer sends you, and take your car in for a checkup every few months. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
– Rain makes the roads slick and can also bring things like oil back to the surface that have previously been baked into the pavement, which makes it even more slippery. Always drive extremely carefully in the rain. Visibility on the road is always decreased during the rain, and it can be easy to hydroplane. Hydroplaning is when your tires loose grip on the road and instead are coasting on the thin layer of water on the surface, causing a complete loss of traction and steering control. Hydroplaning can occur at over 35 mph, and usually happens during the first 10 minutes of a light rain when the rain and oil are accumulated on the surface. Drive carefully and slowly in the rain, and always exercise caution when increasing speed or making sharp turns.
8. Tire Blowouts
– Tire blowouts can also easily cause an accident. Tires do not last forever and need to be checked regularly for cracks, tread depth, and dry rot. Despite your best efforts, a tire may blow at any time due to road conditions or debris in the road. When a tire blows out, stay calm and keep control of the wheel while pulling over to the side as soon as possible. If you cannot change your tire yourself, call for help! Some tire shops put tire lugnuts on using air guns, which can make them near to impossible to loosen yourself.
– People normally think DUI’s just mean driving under the influence of alcohol… however, it also includes drugs. Marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs can all cause major impairment. Even prescription drugs can be an issue, with some causing drowsiness. It’s also possible to have a reaction to medication you have not previously taken. It’s always better to be safe and not operate a vehicle while under the influence of any kind of drug, illegal or prescription.
10. Road Condition
– Potholes and bumps in the road sometimes can’t be avoided, especially on a busy road. Some states have laws in your favor that will help you if you’re involved in an accident due to a road condition. Most areas are required to maintain things like roads, guardrails, signposts, and dividers to a certain standard, and if these standards are not met and you are injured as a result, you may have a case. Drive carefully, watch the road in front of you for obstacles or holes, and slow down or go around if it is safe to do so.
Some car accidents cannot be avoided, no matter how hard you try. Driving carefully and cautiously will always help, and be courteous to other drivers. You all have somewhere to be! West Alliance Injury Laywers encourage to you drive safely, and while we hope you are never in an accident, we are here to help if you are.