Millions of car accidents occur each year. And while each one is different, the majority of them can be blamed on just four or five common culprits. If you know what they are, you can decrease your chances of being in an accident.
Tips for Avoiding These 5 Common Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents are a serious issue in the United States. And even though vehicles have become safer over the past two or three decades, injuries and fatalities are still a regular occurrence.
Data curated by Bankrate.com shows that 3 million people are injured in car wrecks in the U.S. each year. And in 2019 – the last year in which comprehensive data is available – a sobering 36,096 people were killed in car accidents. In total, there are somewhere between 5 million and 6 million car accidents each year (or 14,000 to 17,000 accidents per day).
Though any number of factors can be blamed, the reality is that the vast majority of accidents are caused by just a few factors. And if you can avoid them, you’ll significantly reduce your chances of being hurt or killed in a wreck.
1. Speeding/Reckless Driving
An estimated 9,478 people are killed each year in speeding accidents. Tens of thousands more are hurt or seriously injured. You don’t want to be part of that statistic.
Speeding is about more than just breaking the law and getting a ticket. As your speed increases, your ability to control your vehicle decreases. So does the effectiveness of protection equipment (like airbags). By staying within the normal speed limit, you can maintain control and give yourself plenty of time to break when there’s an issue on the road.
2. Drunk Driving
The NHTSA reports that 28 people die in the United States each day in drunk-driving crashes. That comes out to one person every 52 minutes. But thankfully, this is one of the easiest factors for you to control.
Most people know that they shouldn’t drive when they’re “drunk.” And if you have good friends with you, they’re not going to let you get behind the wheel when you’re stumbling over yourself. The problem is that most people don’t understand that buzzed driving is the same thing as drunk driving. The legal limit might be .08 BAC level, but just .02 can lead to some loss of judgment and decline in visual functions.
If you’ve had anything to drink, it’s best to find another way home. Whether it’s letting a friend drive, calling someone to pick you up, or getting an Uber – any option is better than getting behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking.
3. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving has become a massive problem over the past decade and a half. It’s now become one of the top causes of accidents. Common culprits include talking and texting, using a navigation system, adjusting music controls, talking to passengers, handling children or pets, and applying makeup.
Do your best to prevent distractions in the first place. This may include initiating “drive mode” on your phone, setting your GPS before starting up your vehicle, etc.
4. Faulty Car Maintenance
It’s not uncommon for car accidents to be caused by faulty car maintenance. This may include cracked windshields, defective lights and wipers, faulty brake pads, or bad tires. The best way to avoid issues like these is to get your car serviced at regular intervals. (You should also be mindful of who you let work on your vehicle.)
5. Defective Auto Parts
In certain situations, defective auto parts may be to blame. This typically occurs when there’s a manufacturing issue with something like the brake system or tires. These incidents can be exacerbated when there are defective airbags, seatbelts, or other safety systems.
While you don’t have a whole lot of control over defective auto parts, you can do your best to stay on top of any part recalls or safety warnings issued by your car’s manufacturer. If they suggest you replace something, do so immediately.
Don’t be the Next Car Accident Victim
You can’t always control what happens on the road. However, if you’re smart about your own driving habits and the situations you put yourself in, you can reduce your chances of being hurt or killed in a car accident. Hopefully, this article has given you some useful food for thought. Let it guide you to smarter decision-making!