People tend to think of car crashes as accidents because few people are actively trying to crash their cars. However, far from being random accidents, every car crash has a cause. In most cases, the behaviors that are most likely to cause a vehicle collision can be avoided. Here are five of the most common causes of auto accidents.
Driving faster than the speed limit is the most common kind of citation given to motorists, and it’s also the most common cause for automobile crashes. The faster a car is going, the harder it becomes to control it. Speeding cars have trouble safely negotiate corners and turns. Additionally, when a car is going fast, the drive needs more time to react to changes and unexpected events. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency, speeding killed more 9,700 people in 2016, which accounted for 26 percent of all traffic fatalities for the year.
Safe driving requires motorists to pay attention to the road and their surrounds continually. It only takes a second for driving conditions to change, and drivers must be ready to react at a moment’s notice. In 2016, distracted driving took the lives of more than 3,500 people in the U.S. The need for driver attention means that distracted driving can be the cause of many avoidable crashes. Rear-end collisions account for nearly 30 percent of accidents. People who are texting on their phone, playing with the radio, or distracted in another way significantly increase their risk of being in an automobile accident. Distracted driving also includes driving when you are exhausted. Falling asleep behind the wheel is believed to be the cause of around 7 percent of car accidents.
Though there are many campaigns and laws designed to combat the issue, driving under the influence is a leading cause in automobile accidents. Alcohol (and other drugs) severely limit the driver’s ability to control their vehicle. Drunk drivers have reduced vision, slower response times, worse hand-eye coordination, and overall impaired judgment-making skills. In 2017, drunk driving accounted for nearly three out of 10 (29 percent) of the automobile fatalities for the year.
Some car crash factors are outside of the control of the driver. Poor weather can affect driving conditions on the roads. For example, smoke and heavy fog can reduce visibility. Rain can be a threat in multiple ways. Strong rains make it difficult to see when driving and the water mixing with oil can make roads slicker. And when tropical storms come to Florida, they can bring flooding, which creates entirely different challenges for drivers. Since it’s impossible to control the weather, drivers need to know when they must adapt their driving style to prevent a crash in poor weather. Leaving a larger gap between you and the cars ahead will give you more response time and can prevent rear-end collisions.
Though this accident cause is harder to track with empirical data, it’s certain that issues with the roads or the car are at the root of some accidents. Vehicle defects can be something as drastic as brake failure, to more mundane issues like a tire blowing out. Trying to avoid a crash when your vehicle is malfunctioning is difficult. These mechanical factors are why it’s essential that vehicle owners bring their cars in for an inspection with their mechanic. Most catastrophic problems can be prevented before they become the cause of accidents.
When you’re involved in an automobile accident, you need to speak to a lawyer that can ensure you get proper compensation from insurance companies. If you or someone you know needs a trustworthy and effective automobile accident lawyer, contact the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. to schedule a free consultation.