Thankfully, there is a way to limit car accidents, especially when you know the main reasons why they happen. Here are the 15 most common causes for car accidents and how you can mitigate them.
Most Common Causes Of Car Accidents
1. Distracted Driving
Each time you’re behind the wheel, your full attention should be on the road ahead. When driving, things happen in an instance, which is why you need to be aware of the surroundings constantly.
Moreover, people aren’t built for multitasking. For that reason, you should never text, read notifications, eat, apply makeup, or do anything that might distract you.
You can limit distractions, though. Shutting down the mobile data on your smartphone will restrict most notifications significantly. Also, you can invest in a Bluetooth calling system if your car doesn’t have any so that you can keep your hands on the steering wheel.
As for texting, eating, applying makeup, or reading, there is really no place for them on the driver’s seat. As a driver, you’re not only responsible for your safety, but for everyone around you, so please be careful. And, honestly, you can stop for 10-15 minutes to finish what you need to do.
2. Driving Under The Influence Of Alcohol Or Drugs
Alcohol and recreational drugs are part of our world and okay if used responsibly. The danger is driving under the influence can cause damage, injury or even death to the driver, passengers or other road users.
Occasionally, drivers brag about driving drunk or under the influence, even though there is nothing funny about that. Alcohol, opiates, psychedelics, and other legal or banned drugs can significantly impair your perception. Simply put, you’re not the same driver anymore.
Therefore, giving the keys to your sober friend or catching a taxi are always better solutions. Or, don’t take your vehicle on a night out, especially if you plan on drinking or taking drugs. Take this thing seriously – lives are at stake.
3. High-Speed Driving
For many people, speeding is fun, I admit it. However, being responsible for you own and other peoples lives is even more fun. And, speeding opposes that – 17% of the accidents happen due to speeding. For that reason, you should limit your high-speed shenanigans for track days.
The faster you go, the higher the chance something wrong happens. Braking distances will be much longer, the tires won’t have enough grip, and you won’t be able to notice things on time. On average, you will need double the distance to a full stop when driving over 200kph as opposed to 140kph.
Obviously, you should always adhere to the speed limits, but also adjust the velocity of the vehicle according to the conditions. Slow down when it rains, snows, or there is fog outside.
4. Driving Aggressively And Recklessly
Is there truly a reason to tailgate the vehicle in front of you? Or cut lanes like a racing driver that battles for victory on the final lap? Driving aggressively and recklessly can significantly increase the chance for an accident to happen.
And, that’s true even if you feel that you’re on top of everything you do. Other drivers and traffic participants aren’t prepared for erratic behavior. Hence, the next time you cut the lane, the driver behind you might not be able to hit the brakes on time.
Also, always respect red lights and stop signs. They are there for a reason! And, it’s not like you’ll be losing too much time by waiting – the average light cycle (green, yellow, and red) lasts about 120 seconds.
5. Driving Tired Or Sleepy
Driving for prolonged periods can cause tiredness, which is one of the main culprits for car accidents. That’s especially true during the night when our bodies naturally want to go to sleep.
You should immediately stop at the nearest parking or gas station if you feel tired or sleepy. Drink a coffee, an energy drink, or even take a nap.
Also, avoid driving deep into the night. Otherwise, you risk losing sight of the road ahead periodically or even fall asleep on the steering wheel.
6. Wet Roads
The rolling traction of tires reduces almost in half on wet roads when compared to dry roads. That’s why most of the weather-related accidents happen in rainy conditions.
Fortunately, you can combat this by slowing down, increase your focus, and take care of your tires. You might even want to stop when it rains very heavily because visibility is almost non-existent.
7. Snowy And Icy Roads
Snow and ice lower the rolling traction of tires even further. Also, visibility significantly reduces during a snow storm. Therefore, harsh wintry conditions are the main culprit behind chain accidents.
To increase safety in the winter, you need to drive very slowly and gently. Otherwise, your vehicle might easily spin-out of control. Also, note that the braking distances on snow and ice are incredibly long.
If you often encounter heavy snowstorms on roads in your area, you should probably invest in a quality set of winter or snow tires. These tires significantly improve traction over snow and ice, even when compared to all-season tires.
8. Reduced Visibility Due To Heavy Fog
Driving in heavy fog increases the chance of an accident considerably. You should be extra careful when driving in fog and drive very slowly.
Also, using the front and rear fog lights on your car to see better in front, but also notify other drivers about your presence. However, don’t use the high beam, as it limits not only your visibility but also that of incoming cars.
9. Teenage Drivers
It is prudent to learn how to drive at a younger age. Sadly, though, teenagers make up for a significant portion of drivers that cause accidents.
Notably, teenagers make mistakes due to a lack of experience. However, many young people also use their smartphones while driving, or drive too fast (showing off) without matching skill or competence to manage a car at high speeds..
If you are a parent, it’s probably best to spend time with your kid behind the wheel and teach him/her about defensive driving. You’re investing in their safety, nothing more.
10. Tire Blowouts
A big tire blowout is an unfortunate event that can happen instantly. The worst thing about this is that even the most experienced drivers might not be able to keep the vehicle in control.
To limit accidents related to tire blowouts, though, you can apply many of the driving tips stated above. Mainly, drive slowly and continuously keep attention to the road. That way, you will be able to react faster and keep the vehicle in check.
11. Worn-Out Tires
Authorities never state worn-out tires as a culprit for a car accident. You’ll only see “exceeded speed limit” or “not adhering to traffic regulations.
However, most of the speed-related accidents are actually due to worn-out tires. Modern vehicles can perform safely even above the speed limit, but certainly not without good tires.
For safe and carefree driving experience, be sure that your tires are always in great shape. Check the tread depth regularly and also make sure that you keep them inflated correctly.
12. Racing On Public Streets
The urge to race with people you know or might not know on the streets or on clear road is real. Nonetheless, racing on public roads might be the stupidest thing anyone would do; be the bigger man or woman and avoid it.
Racing involves high speeds and aggressive cornering, both of which can significantly increase the risk of having an accident. Take your adrenaline and release it on the racing track. It will be more fun than street racing, anyway.
13. Car Defects
Even though it doesn’t happen often, a defect can cause your car to behave erratically. That’s especially true if you have problems with the brakes, suspension, or other underbody components.
For that reason, you should always keep your car in check. Servicing your vehicle regularly helps significantly since the mechanic might tell you about some defects in advance.
Some cars, though, have design defects from the factory. Manufacturers are usually quick to react with recalls, especially if the issue is related to safety. However, it’s up to you to identify and get any malfunctions attended to at the earliest opportunity for your safety and those of other road users.
14. Road Construction
Road construction annoys many drivers, but that’s the only way to keep the streets safe for driving. And, the construction site itself is rarely the reason for the accident – the unadjusted speed is. Hence, each time you encounter road construction, slow down.
15. Wild Animal Crossings
People learn about traffic regulations, even from young age, but animals are unable to do that. On many occasions, wild animals can appear on roads and highways. That’s why, the first moment you notice the sign for wild animals crossing, slow down.
Otherwise, you risk not only the life of the animal but your life as well. Animals cause accidents that kill thousands of people annually across the globe so it is not something to be taken lightly.
If it wasn’t apparent by now, people are the main reason why accidents happen. And it’s all about responsibility. Driving is dangerous, and it will be forever. Therefore, by being accountable, drivers can considerably decrease the odds of something terrible happening.
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