The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the total number of car accidents in 2017 at almost 6.5 million. Tens of thousands of those were fatal crashes, too.
A car accident can be a tragic and life-altering event, but many of them are actually avoidable. If you're aware of the common factors of car accidents, then you might have a better chance of driving safely with no accidents on your record.
Today, we're going to take a look at 10 of the most common factors so you can be better prepared the next time you hit the road.
1. Distractions While Driving
The leading cause of car accidents these days is distracted driving.
The most obvious example would be using or looking at your phone while driving. In our high-speed information age, we tend to rely on our phones for a lot of different things.
It can be tempting to respond to a text or an urgent e-mail, but distractions don't end with smartphones. Other examples of distracted driving include:
Any activity that takes your full attention off driving is considered distracted driving and can easily lead to an accident. To avoid this common cause, simply make sure that you're prepared for a drive before you leave.
2. Driving Too Fast
Driving too fast is another factor that can lead to bad car accidents. Sometimes, we're in a hurry and we're tempted to speed above the limit to get to our destination faster.
The truth is that speeding doesn't get you there much faster at all. Avoid bad car accidents by driving the speed limit and sticking with traffic rather than speeding through.
Statistically, you'll get to your destination just as quickly as everyone else.
3. Driving While Intoxicated
You've probably heard it ever since you were a teenager, but it's dangerous and illegal to drive if you're intoxicated. Drugs and alcohol impair your judgment, response time, etc., and are high on the list of what causes most car accidents.
Designated drivers can help you avoid this dangerous pitfall, but ridesharing apps are another great solution to consider if you're going out to drink.
4. Driving Too Close
Driving too close to the car in front of you is an easy way to get into an accident. Maybe you don't even notice that you drive that close to others, but it's a dangerous habit to develop.
It doesn't give you enough time to react to sudden stops or changes in traffic. To be safe, try to keep at least another car's length between you and the vehicle in front of you.
5. Driving With Defects
Of all the top causes of car accidents, this one is a little harder to prepare for and avoid. You may be driving a car with defects and not even know it!
To be safe, though, you should always perform routine maintenance on your vehicle based on your manufacturer's provided specifications. Take the time to check for recalls in case there is a defect with your vehicle that you weren't aware of.
6. Driving On Rough Roads
Is it possible for there to be no one at fault in a car accident? You can learn more about the fault in car accidents, but sometimes, there are factors that out of our control.
For example, you may hit a pothole that you didn't see that simply caused your car to veer out of control for a split second. This is still preventable, though, by avoiding rougher roads and driving on streets that are more recently paved.
It may be easier said than done, especially if you're newer to an area, but try to avoid driving on uneven roads when possible.
7. Driving at Night
Some of us may have better eyesight in the dark than others, but that doesn't negate the fact that driving at night is more dangerous than driving in daylight.
If you need to drive at night, make sure you take extra precautions. Double check that your headlights are working properly and use high beams if there is no one in front of you.
8. Driving in Inclement Weather
Rain, snow, sleet, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. are all dangerous conditions to drive in and can easily lead to car accidents.
It may not be possible to avoid driving in certain weather, though. For example, if you live somewhere that seems to constantly rain, how can you not drive in the rain?
Be prepared by chaining your tires if there is snow or ice or making sure your wipers work and your windshield repels water if it's raining. If the weather is so bad that visibility is a major issue, be sure to pull over and wait out the bad weather.
9. Driving Through Red Lights
Similar to factor #2, we can easily get in a hurry and try to rush through red lights. Even if we're not running a red light, we might be cutting it too close if we're speeding through a light as it changes.
This is a sure way to get yourself T-boned. It doesn't matter how badly you don't want to wait for a light change, red means stop.
10. Improper Merging
Merging on and off roads - especially highways, state roads, etc. - is another common cause of car accidents that not everyone thinks of.
Pay attention to yield signs. If you have one, then you have to slow down or even stop if traffic is coming in your direction.
If you don't have a yield sign, you can merge with traffic but be sure to allow the priority of traffic to go from left to right. Don't try to speed in front of cars in the lane that you're merging toward.
Avoiding the Common Factors of Car Accidents
Most people don't consider the fact that so many accidents are avoidable. By understanding the common factors of car accidents, you will be more likely to avert them altogether.
Sometimes, there's only so much you can do, but be sure to do what you can. Remove distractions, maintain the speed limit, avoid drugs and alcohol, and keep your car in good shape.
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