Did you know that an average of six million car crashes occur every year? What’s more, nearly a third of these accidents (two million) cause permanent injuries to one of the people involved. However, we don’t have to accept these facts as they are.
Suzuki Law Offices believes that identifying mistakes is the first step to change, and that’s why we created this list of the top causes of auto accidents. We hope this information helps people identify their dangerous driving behaviors and put them in the rearview mirror.
Many people believe that drinking and driving causes a majority of traffic accidents, but that’s not true. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that distracted driving accounts for nearly 10% of all traffic accidents and 15% of crashes that result in injuries.
This fact means distracted driving causes 300,000 permanent injuries every year.
Unfortunately, many people equate distracted driving with texting and driving, but texting is only a part of the problem. In fact, distracted driving comes in a variety of forms, and it’s good to identify that each type is dangerous in its own right.
There are three main subcategories of distracted driving:
- Manual distractions (distractions that use up a person’s hands);
- Visual distractions (distractions that use up a person’s vision);
- Cognitive distractions (distractions that use up a person’s brain).
Examples of manual distractions include:
- Texting on a cellphone;
- Using a car’s navigation system;
- Eating food; and
- Putting on makeup.
Examples of visual distractions include:
- Reading a text on a mounted cellphone;
- Reading a book (yes, people do this);
- Looking for something in the car.
Examples of cognitive distractions include:
- Talking on a hands-free device;
- Making a talk-to-text text message;
- Talking to a friend in the car;
- Listening to a podcast.
Ways to prevent distracted driving:
- Put in directions, put on music, and put away phones before you leave your driveway.
- If you drive with pets in your car, consider securing them in place with a seatbelt or by putting them in a kennel.
- Don’t eat while on the road, but if you have to, buy food that takes minimal effort to eat.
- Remember that hands-free devices are not distraction-free devices.
Drunk driving is one of the top causes of fatal car crashes in the United States. In fact, drunk driving accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2017: which is a total of 10,874 drunk-driving related deaths.
That’s one alcohol-related traffic fatality every 48 mins.
Alcohol impairment affects the following:
- Ability to make sound judgments;
- Ability to concentrate on speed, vehicle position, and other drivers;
- Ability to quickly react to emergencies;
- Ability to check and clear peripheral areas;
- Ability to control vision.
Ways to prevent drunk driving:
- Use a designated driver;
- Call for a cab;
- Hire a ridesharing service like Uber.
Speeding & Reckless Driving
In 2016, speeding accounted for 27% of all traffic fatalities, and research suggests that a speed increase of 10-mph increases the probability of a crash by 9.1%. Therefore, it’s possible to make a direct correlation between speeding and car crashes.
Reckless driving is defined as showing irreverence or indifference to the safety or property of others through one’s actions.
Common forms of reckless driving include:
- Changing lanes without a turn signal;
- Aggressively driving (cutting people off, speeding, etc.);
- Tailgating (when you are unnecessarily close to the driver in front of you);
- Street racing.
Ways to prevent speeding and reckless driving:
- Leave earlier for appointments to make sure you get to where you need to go.
- If you get frustrated with another driver, consider pulling over for a minute to cool off and create space.
- Use a turn signal when making lane changes or turning.
Disrespecting Abnormal Road Conditions
In 2017, the most commonly cited cause for car accidents in Phoenix was “speeding too fast for conditions.” This phrase means drivers were traveling too fast given abnormal road conditions.
Abnormal road conditions include:
- Roadside construction;
- Nearby accidents;
- Inclement weather;
- Poor visibility.
Unfortunately, some people do not change their driving styles to match the road conditions at hand. For example, drivers are supposed to travel under the speed limit when passing through construction areas, yet many drivers continue to drive at the normal speed limit.
Ways to respect abnormal road conditions include:
- Slowing down when driving through construction zones.
- Preventing yourself from “rubbernecking” to see what happened at the scene of an accident.
- Slowing down when driving in the rain, fog, or similar weather conditions.
Injured by Someone Else’s Negligence?
You can follow speed limits, refrain from drunk driving, and pay attention to the road all you want, but that can’t protect you from other drivers’ mistakes. The unfortunate truth of driving is that we are at the mercy of other drivers around us, and sometimes, we are injured due to the negligence of others.
If you or a loved one was injured due to the negligence of another driver, you have the right to pursue just compensation for your wounds. An experienced car accident attorney can help you seek damages for hospital bills, missed work, and emotional trauma.
Suzuki Law Offices is prepared to listen to your story to determine if you have a case. Our award-winning representation works on a contingency fee basis, which means our clients don’t pay unless we win.
Call (602) 842-6762 now for a free consultation for your personal injury case!