Every year, more than 37,000 people in the United States die in car crashes. That averages out to more than 100 fatalities per day, or more than four fatalities per hour, just in the United States.
Millions more people are injured in car accidents every year, with injuries ranging from mild injuries such as bruises and scratches to severe injuries such as permanent paralysis. Car accidents can, of course, happen to just about anyone. Even safe drivers who pay attention to the road, always use their blinkers, and do regular maintenance on their vehicles can find themselves in a collision. Sometimes, the causes of accidents are out of the control of everyone involved — like unexpected weather conditions. Other times — like with drunk drivers — the accidents were entirely preventable.
There are nearly infinite possible causes for car accidents, many leading back to driver error. But, some of the top causes of car accidents in the United State are these (in no particular order):
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Running red lights/stop signs
- Night driving
- Teenage drivers
As you can see, a number of these causes are easily avoidable, meaning that the resulting accidents are easily avoidable as well. In order to be a safer driver, and to lessen your chances of getting into an accident, the two most important things to do are to always drive sober and to always pay attention while you’re driving.
To prevent accidents due to drunk driving, never drink when you’ve had any alcohol, even if you believe that you haven’t had enough alcohol to make it illegal to drive. Once you’ve started drinking, your perceptions will be distorted, making it easier for you to underestimate how drunk you really are. But, when you drive drunk, you put not only yourself in danger, but you endanger anyone else who’s on the road with you.
Many people who are responsible about driving sober, still continue to drive while distracted. The biggest distractor during driving is your phone. Even sending or reading a quick text will take your eyes off the road, possibly during crucial moments that make the difference between life and death. In addition to cell phones, directions systems can be incredibly distracting while driving, as can be your radio and your passengers. If you’re having difficulty concentrating, it’s best to address the distractions immediately, by pulling over and answering texts while stopped, or by requesting your passengers to settle down until you’ve reached your destination.
To further prevent accidents, follow the road laws and don’t speed or run through red lights and stop signs. And, as much as possible, avoid driving in the rain or at night. Although sometimes you may simply need to drive during these road conditions, do your best to avoid unnecessary driving when the road conditions are less than ideal.
And finally, if you have a teenage driver in your household, make sure that they understand the responsibility that comes along with a driver’s license. Because teenage drivers have little experience, they are at a greater risk for accidents, and it is especially important to ensure that they are driving without distractions and only during ideal road conditions. The Bruning Law Firm, which deals with car accident cases, also advises that teen drivers be completely focused on the task at hand. To learn more about the dangers teen drivers are exposed to, you can check out their blog post on the topic, and always make sure to drive safe, sober, and focused.