Car accidents happen quite often in the United States and around the world. They are the leading cause of death in the world today for people between the ages of 15-29, and over 37,000 people die on American roadways each year.
Accidents in the United States cost over $230 billion each year in total losses. That equates to an average cost responsibility of over $800 per person.
What is unfortunate about most of the incidents that occur is that they are preventable. Distracted driving and human error account for the vast majority of accidents that happen.
List of the Top Causes of Car Accidents
Distracted driving is the primary reason for car accidents because there are so many ways it can happen. If you are talking on the phone, texting, or eating while driving, then your attention is not entirely on the road.
Here are the other leading causes of car accidents that occur after distraction.
- Human Error
Everyone makes a mistake every so often, but it only takes one error to create an accident. If you change lanes too quickly, run through a stop sign you didn’t see, or choose to drive too closely to the vehicle in front of you, then you’re increasing the risk of an incident happening. Driving the wrong way or making an improper turn also fits into this category.
Speed limits can be inconvenient, but their presence is intended to reduce roadway accidents and assist with local road conditions. This choice was responsible for 26% of accidents with a fatality in 2017. What makes things even worse is that 49% of drivers in these crashes were not wearing their seat belts.
- Drunk Driving
Alcohol impairment is responsible for roughly the same number of highway incidents as speeding is in the United States. About 16% of drivers who get behind the wheel while buzzed or worse admit to using other drugs at the same time. There are over 100 million annual episodes of drunk driving self-reported by Americans, showing the scope of this problem.
You don’t have control over the weather. You can choose to drive safely for the conditions present in each situation. Rain, ice, and snow account for road conditions that can trigger accidents when driving too fast. Low visibility from fog or high-wind conditions are also potential causes.
- Mechanical Issues
If your tire goes flat while driving at high speeds, then the vehicle can swerve unexpectedly. Mechanical issues, such as a brake failure, can also trigger an accident. There might be a flaw in the design of the vehicle. You can reduce the risk of these issues occurring by staying up-to-date with your maintenance schedule.
Young or inexperienced drivers tend to be in more accidents than other demographics because they don’t always recognize unsafe conditions. One of the best ways to avoid this problem is to take a defensive driving course before obtaining your license.
How to Avoid a Car Accident
You cannot control what happens in the world around you when you’re behind the wheel. What you can do is be observant of how others behave.
The easiest ways to avoid accidents are to pull into traffic cautiously, watch for drivers who run red lights or stop signs, and keep hold of the wheel at all times.
Try to scan at least 12 seconds ahead while driving to avoid pets, kids, or obstacles that get into the road. Then position yourself in such a way so that you won’t hit another vehicle if they were to stop suddenly.
We can all prevent accidents by being proactive about driving defensively. By understanding what causes most crashes, it becomes easier to avoid them.