The National Safety Council offers curious individuals some staggering statistics when it comes to car crashes in the United States:
- An estimated 40,000 people lost their lives in car accidents in one recent year. This is 14 percent more than four years beforehand.
- As many as 4.5 million people were injured as a result of car accidents in 2018.
- Eight states experienced a spike in car accident fatalities of at least 5.8 percent.
Car accidents are common regardless of where in the United States you reside. Unfortunately, receiving injuries from the experience is nearly as common as the experience itself. With most American adults driving every day—to and from work, school, recreational outings, and so on, people need to understand the potential causes of car accidents to help them avoid those problems.
Understanding some of the factors that commonly lead to car accidents may drastically reduce your chance of sustaining an injury in a vehicle crash. While not every car accident is avoidable or preventable, an understanding of the causes of such accidents may prove life-saving in the future.
Distracted driving is one of the most common contributing factors to vehicle accidents. Many individuals picture a criminal driving under the influence or behaving aggressively on the road as the primary source of car crashes; the truth, however, is far more sinister. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that 3,450 people died and a further 391,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016.
One reason why distracted driving proves so dangerous is that most Americans don’t fully appreciate the risk. Millions of drivers every day believe that glancing down to check a text, turning around to pay attention to their children in the back seat, or focusing on eating a meal on the way to work genuinely won’t increase the likelihood of a car crash. They are wrong.
These simple (and often well-intentioned) actions can and do cause most of the car accidents that occur every day. Because so many behaviors and actions fall under the umbrella of distracted driving, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of operating a motor vehicle while distracted.
In some cases, speeding may prove a smaller component in a driver’s overall aggressive driving behavior. Oftentimes, though, drivers may speed without showing any other signs of aggression or recklessness. Many of us fall prey to the belief that reaching appointments or starting the workday on time is more important than driving and arriving safely; this is not the case.
The average individual likely engages in speeding somewhat regularly. We all feel stressed and pressured to reach destinations or events on time, but speeding puts drivers and everybody around them on the road at tremendous risk. Experts have told drivers for years that speeding kills, and these experts are right. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has collected data indicating that speeding accounted for over a quarter of traffic fatalities in 2016.
Driving Under the Influence
Whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or improperly dosed basic medications, people who drive are under the influence lack crucial and fundamental cognitive abilities needed for safe driving. Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs—even legal prescription drugs—is extremely dangerous and often leads to catastrophic accidents.
Poor Weather Conditions
Many areas throughout the United States experience exceptionally poor weather conditions for some portion of the year. Heavy snow, sleet, fog, and rain can severely hinder drivers’ abilities to maneuver their vehicles safely. Even the most experienced and knowledgeable driver may struggle to operate his or her car in adverse weather conditions.
You don’t need to live in an area known for inclement weather to fall prey to unsavory weather conditions while driving. In fact, drivers who aren’t used to weather impacting their ability to drive may suffer at the hands of mild rain or light morning fog. Take your abilities and experience into account before deciding to drive in almost any weather conditions.
Aggressive driving may encompass any number of inappropriate, erratic, and aggressive behaviors while on the road. Many aggressive drivers allow their emotions to overtake them and may speed, shift lanes without warning, or closely tailgate other vehicles on the road. Try to maintain emotional balance while driving; if you notice another driver who is engaging in aggressive driving, you should distance yourself from him or her immediately.
Many aggressive drivers have little concern for the safety and wellbeing of those around them, which makes them especially dangerous. Some accidents may occur even though all drivers are doing their best to follow the rules of the road, but aggressive driving accidents involve at least one party with minimal regard for public safety.
While it may seem like driving at night is nearly identical to driving during daylight hours, this is not always the case. Many individuals may not realize that they actually don’t have much experience driving once the sun goes down, and they—and the people around them—may suffer for it.
Countless drivers fail to turn on their headlights and become all but invisible once the sun has set. Others may feel anxious and begin to drive somewhat erratically once they realize that they’re unfamiliar with their surroundings. Understanding how and where to watch for pedestrians and paying special attention to blind spots in the dark doesn’t come naturally to everybody, and failing to take these steps can have dire consequences.
The Importance of Legal Counsel
Some car accidents are life-changing, so if you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, seek medical treatment and legal representation as soon as possible. The Groth Law Firm is empathetic and experienced, they are car accident attorneys with a deep understanding of the damage that a car accident can have on victims’ lives can determine your eligibility to pursue compensation.