Despite a decline from previous years, almost 39,000 Americans died in car crashes in 2019. And the total number of accidents, regardless of fatalities or injuries, is much higher.
Getting inside a moving vehicle is always a risk, even with the safest driver. But, there are certain conditions and factors that improve your odds of being involved in an accident.
Road safety should always be your number one priority. Keep reading to learn more about the main causes of accidents and learn how you can avoid them.
1. Impaired Driving
Drunk driving is a huge contributor to vehicle accidents and many of them are severe. In 2018, 29% of all fatality accidents involved alcohol.
But alcohol isn’t the only thing that impairs drivers. Drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and opioids all impair drivers. So much so, that in 2018, over one million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When drivers drink or do drugs, the following things can affect their driving:
- Distorted hearing and vision
- Impaired judgment
- Decreased coordination
2. Excessive Speeds
Roads have speed limits for a reason. This is the speed deemed safe by professionals for a certain road based on its characteristics.
Roads with lower speed limits are often found in residential areas where there is a lot of pedestrian traffic. In addition, roads with several stop signs or stoplights will have lower speed limits to allow drivers enough time to safely stop.
While on the other hand, highways often have the highest speed limits. These are long stretches of road that don’t offer many distractions or stops.
But, regardless of whether you’re going to fast on a 30 mph road or too fast on a 60 mph road, this is dangerous. Always be aware of how long it will take you to stop if you need to quickly avoid an accident. Vehicles traveling at 30 mph need around 75 feet to stop while vehicles traveling at 60 mph need 250 feet.
3. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving occurs when a driver is not giving their complete attention to the road. This can result in drivers swerving from the lane, failing to notice stopped vehicles, and not following traffic signs or signals.
In today’s world, the most common form of distracted driving involves cell phones. Some drivers feel confident in texting, calling, changing the song, or entering directions while behind the wheel. But looking away from the road for even a second can cause an accident.
But, cell phones aren’t the only form of distracted driving. Here are a few other common distractions:
- Eating or drinking
- Looking at or talking to passengers
- Changing settings on their radio or other car features
- Putting on makeup
4. Weather Conditions
Not all poor driving conditions are created by the driver. Some causes of accidents are unavoidable and drivers have to merely safely adapt.
Weather conditions can easily cause an accident. Regardless of where you live, there are dangerous conditions that you may find yourself encountering.
Drivers that live in the north have to deal with snow or ice. These can cause vehicles to slide on the road, collide with other vehicles, or fail to stop. Driving in snow or ice is a learned skill, but there are times when even the most experienced driver can find themselves in an accident.
Other dangerous weather conditions that can happen anywhere include rain, hail, and strong winds. These all bring their own challenges to driving.
5. Night Driving
Many accidents happen at night for a variety of reasons.
The number one thing that night driving affects is a driver’s vision. Because it’s dark, it can be hard to see turns in the road or obstacles. In addition, some people have issues with seeing halos around lights, such as headlights or streetlights, that can make night driving difficult.
Drowsy driving is also dangerous. Many accidents are caused by people falling asleep behind the wheel. Even nodding off for a few seconds can be fatal.
Because of all these things, it’s best to only drive at night when necessary. If you do find yourself driving at night, make sure you’re fully awake and drive cautiously.
Avoiding the Most Common Causes of Accidents
Despite the dangers involved with driving, the majority of us have no choice but to drive daily. If you have to drive, it’s best to keep in mind these conditions that increase the odds of accidents. In addition, be aware of these tips to help you avoid accidents.
Only drive if you are 100% sober and fully awake. If someone else is driving, make sure they follow these same rules. If not, find a different drive or call a taxi.
Even though you can control your own actions, be aware that other drivers on the road may be impaired or distracted. Because of this, you should always practice defensive driving and be prepared for a vehicle suddenly swerving or stopping.
If you do get into an accident, don’t panic. Instead, safely pull your vehicle to the side of the road and call emergency personnel. Read this article to find out more about what happens after an accident.
Protect Your Life on and off the Road
Now that you know the common causes of accidents and a few tricks to avoid them, it’s time to protect your life on and off the road.
This starts with taking care of yourself and your body. A healthy body is a lot less susceptible to injuries, illness, and disease.
To keep you and your family as healthy as possible, head to the Health of Nutrition sections of this site.