No driver wants to find themselves in the unfortunate situation of being involved in an accident, but you can’t control the actions of other drivers. This means that even the best drivers may find themselves involved in an accident at some point in their lives. However, by identifying the common causes for car accidents, along with general driving safety tips, you can reduce the likelihood that you will be involved in a wreck.
Leading Causes for Car Accidents
There are a number of different common causes for car accidents on the road to keep an eye out for. By understanding what these common causes are, you can spot the signs that someone or something may be about to cause an accident in front of you:
1. Distracted Driving
Over recent years, distracted driving crashes have increased 30% which is a major margin. Whether it’s checking a smartphone while driving, eating a meal, or simply being distracted by the music you are listening to, distracted driving is a major cause of many accidents. As a driver, it’s important to remove anything from the vehicle that would potentially take your eyes or attention off the road.
It will likely come as no surprise that speeding is another major cause of accidents on U.S. roadways. The faster a vehicle goes, the higher the likelihood that a crash would be fatal. To avoid such an event from occurring, always follow posted speed limit rules. If you see someone approaching quickly in your rearview mirror, allow them to go around you rather than making a sudden movement and switching lanes.
3. Poor Weather Conditions
Believe it or not, driving in poor weather conditions is another common reason accidents occur. In fact, on a 10-year average, weather conditions caused 21% on roadways with rain, snow, fog, and other weather conditions being to blame. In addition to poor weather limiting visibility, infrastructure damage from poor weather also causes accidents on roadways.
4. Driving Under the Influence
Naturally, another major cause of accidents on the road is drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Both these items heavily impair a person’s judgement and ability to make quick decisions while on the roadway, which is why they are so dangerous. Never get behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have partaken in drinking any alcohol or have ingested any substances at all that would affect your ability to drive.
Tips for Staying Safe and Avoiding an Accident
Understanding the common causes for car accidents in the United States is only half the battle. As a driver, you also need to understand general safety tips on the road that can help to ensure you avoid an accident. Use the following helpful tips to keep yourself and other drivers safe:
• Always maintain at least three seconds of space, ideally four, between you and any vehicles in front of you on the roadway
• Scan the road at least twelve seconds ahead of your vehicle to keep an eye out for traffic or road hazards that may require a quick reaction
• Driving at night can cause accidents due to low visibility and the mere fact that people are more tired in the evening, so limit the amount of time you spend driving at night
• Take care of the routine preventative maintenance your vehicle requires to operate at peak condition, such as rotating tires, getting fluids topped off, checking the quality of your brakes, and other similar items
• If you do live in an area that consistently gets poor weather and driving in that weather is unavoidable, get plenty of practice in a safe environment driving in that weather, such as in a parking lot
• Decide on your music, eat your food, and respond to any texts or calls prior to ever putting your car in drive to ensure that you can give the road your complete and undivided attention
While the above tips can’t guarantee that you will never be involved in an accident, they certainly will reduce the likelihood.
Protect yourself on the open road
Protecting yourself while driving is about more than simply watching what other vehicles are doing on the road. It requires identifying the common causes of accidents so that you can spot the signs an accident may be about to occur. This can give you additional reaction time which can be used to avoid getting caught up in that accident. Stay vigilant on the road and always focus on being a defensive driver.