The Top Causes of Auto Accidents & How to Avoid Them
Auto accidents in the United States are unfortunately extremely common. 77% of drivers have been involved in an auto accident in their life according to a recent report by Esurance. But, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has confirmed that deaths related to auto accidents have declined by more than a third in the past three years. So, although vehicles are continuing to gain advanced safety features, keeping drivers safer on the road, auto accidents continue to be on the rise. Plus, 94% of all car accidents are caused by human error according to the NHTSA. Understanding the most common causes of auto accidents can help you avoid a crash. What causes auto accidents? Let’s find out.
Auto Accident Causes by Human Error:
Being distracted while driving has consistently been a leading cause of auto accidents for some time. With the high usage of smartphones and digital tablets, this cause continues to be the leader for car collisions. Drivers often think they can multitask effectively, but the reality is that they more than often cannot, which leads to accidents. Distractions can include texting while driving, losing sight of the road, eating while driving, reaching for items within the vehicle, sun glares or high beams, loud music, and much more. To avoid driver distractions, pull over to handle phone calls, texting, and eating. Make sure you’re prepared to the fullest before you enter your vehicle to avoid other distractions. Keep your eyes on the road while driving!
Interestingly enough, many studies have associated American’s chronic sleep deprivation with fatigue being a leading cause of auto accidents. Also, according to the CDC, being drowsy is just as dangerous as being drunk behind the wheel. In auto accidents caused by fatigue and tiredness, drivers typically nod off behind the wheel for a few seconds, which is enough time for a vehicle to crash. Plus, driver inattention is a symptom of drowsiness, so even if you don’t fall asleep behind the wheel, your reaction times are impacted. To avoid auto accidents caused by fatigue, make sure to get plenty of sleep before driving. If you’re feeling tired while behind the wheel, pull over. Do not try and fight the fatigue!
Alcohol and Drug Impairment
Unfortunately, alcohol and drug impairment while driving causes one-third of all vehicle accidents every year. Consuming too much alcohol before driving is illegal and extremely dangerous. Alcohol consumption impairs your sight, vehicle coordination, reaction times, and judgment while driving. To avoid driving while intoxicated on alcohol specifically, make sure that you are not driving over your state’s legal limit. That means that your body needs to metabolize the alcohol that you consumed before getting behind the wheel. The same goes for illegal or legal drugs. Many prescribed medicines will have warnings around driving while impaired. To be safe, carpool, take a taxi, or take the bus to your destination.
Sometimes speeding seems necessary. Maybe you’re late to work or an appointment, or maybe you just have a lead foot. Regardless of the excuse, speeding is the second highest cause of auto accidents according to Forbes. Speed limits are set based on the drivers’ ability to react to a situation on the given road, as well as the surroundings of the road, stop signs, traffic lights, pedestrian count, and more. Speeding in low-speed zones will increase the likelihood of an accident if a driver needs to react quickly to something unexpected. The best way to avoid causing a speeding-related accident is to drive within the speed limit. This will also reduce your likelihood of getting a speeding ticket!
Running Red Lights and Stop Signs
This one seems obvious, but still, these accidents happen every single day. Drivers run red lights and stop signs thinking that the “coast is clear”, when in fact, it is not. If you’re coming up on a red light, or even a yellow light, slow down and stop. If you see a stop sign, stop, look both ways, and if the road is clear, proceed. These basics to driving in the United States are essential, and following these rules can save your life as well as others driving around you.
Reckless or Aggressive Driving
Speeding is an example of reckless driving, as well as running red lights and stop signs. Driver distractions also cause reckless driving, causing the driver to slam on the breaks, forget to use a turn signal, driving toward oncoming traffic, switching lanes without indicating or looking, and much more. Plus, when another driver in front of you is driving recklessly, this might cause you anger, leading to aggressive driving. Both reckless and aggressive driving cause auto accidents. So again, pay attention to the road, follow proper driving protocol, and if others around you do not, do your best to stay calm.
Auto Accidents Not Caused by Human Error:
Driving in rain and snow can be dangerous. They both cause drastic road condition changes which reduce tire traction, make your car slip in ice or water, reduce visibility, as well as hide potholes and other issues on the road. When driving in adverse weather, make sure to drive slowly, avoid pools of water, use your hazards, and let quicker drivers pass you. When possible, pull off on the side of the road safely to allow the adverse weather to pass.
Although many roads are well taken care of and easy to drive on, road flaws like potholes continue to cause vehicle accidents. When driving, always look out for potholes on the road. Make sure to slow down when necessary and try to drive around them. When this is not possible, do not swerve into oncoming traffic. It is more likely that swerving will cause an auto accident more than the pothole itself.
Although this cause is among the rarest of auto collision causes, vehicle defects are still important to point out. This includes defects like flat tires, issues with the vehicle braking system, engine failures, and more. Make sure to consistently get your vehicle in for auto-tuning, get your tires rotated, oil changes, check various filters, and replace brakes when necessary. Plus, if your car has a safety recall, do not wait to get it updated. Doing so will help you avoid auto accidents caused by vehicle defects.
The unfortunate reality is that auto accidents happen more than we would like. You should always do your best to avoid causing a potential accident. When you do get into an auto accident in the Front Range of Colorado, give Colorado Coach Auto Body a call to help get you back on the road safely.