If you drive a car long enough, you are likely to get into an accident yourself or at least see one on the road. Accidents can range from minor fender benders that do little or nor damage to major crashes that cause serious injuries and death. To avoid car accidents, it’s important to know the common causes.
The most common cause of car accidents, at least in the U.S., is distracted driving. This has been a problem as long as cars have been around, but it’s gotten much worse over the past couple of decades with the advent of cell phones and other small wireless devices. To help lower your chances of an accident caused by distracted driving, never use a phone or other electronic device while you are driving.
Speed limits are in place for a reason: safety. If you don’t follow the posted speed, you are more likely to cause an accident. Speed limits typically reflect the amount of traffic and hazards present. Inner-city streets with lots of car and pedestrian traffic have the lowest limits, while highways and expressways have the highest one. Following the speed limit gives you time to brake properly and react to unexpected hazards.
Everyone knows that drunken drivers are more likely to cause an accident, but other impairments can also be a big risk. People on prescription medications can be impaired while driving and not even be aware of it. Sleep-deprived drivers also can be an accident risk. You should refrain from driving if you have been drinking, are overly tired or are taking a medication that lists driving impairment as a side effect.
A big contributor to car accidents is the weather. Icy or wet roads and poor visibility caused by rain, fog or snow are among the most-common causes of weather-related accidents. If you have to drive during inclement weather, you should slow your speed and make sure you are being vigilant.
There’s a reason that younger drivers pay higher insurance costs. Inexperience behind the wheel is a top cause of auto accidents. And it’s not just overall inexperience. Experienced drivers who are driving a different type of vehicle, such as a motorcycle or large truck, also can be more prone to accidents.
Car accidents kill tens of thousands of people each year in the U.S. To stay safe and avoid them, it’s important to know how they happen and take appropriate precautions.