Driving has become incredibly important to our society. We use our cars to travel just across town or all the way across the country. Yet many people underestimate or underplay the difficulty in piloting two tons of steel and glass through complex artificial environments. Because of this difficulty, accidents can and do occur often. The best way to avoid getting into one is to know their predominant causes. Here are the top ten causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States.
The weather can make all the difference in the world when it comes to road safety. A quick thunderstorm has the potential to turn a smooth asphalt road into an ingredient for chaos. Most inclement weather issues reduce either the visibility of the driver or the traction of the wheels. If you’re ever in a scenario where either is diminished, be sure to be cautious.
Excessive speed can be a huge safety issue when driving. Although most people feel fine and in control if they exceed the speed limit, statistics beg to differ. 32% of all traffic fatalities, according to NHTSA statistics, involved at least one party driving in excess of the speed limit.
Drinking and driving is one of the most publicized vehicular hazzards today. Most people are required to take a drug and alcohol class before they’re allowed to receive their learner’s permit. Drunk driving is responsible for over 32,000 traffic deaths per year and an even larger number of accidents.
The average adult attention span is roughly six seconds. However, this bit of trivia points to why inattentiveness is one of the most dangerous conditions one can put their minds into while driving. It often causes people to engage in quick over-corrections or, even worse, drive haphazardly without regard. It may be as simple as dialing the radio, checking your phone, or looking at your watch. Regardless, a split second of not paying attention could cost someone their life.
The usage of a cell phone is restricted in ten states and extremely limited in 34. This is because of how dangerous texting and driving can be. Studies have showed that it is just as impairing as being legally intoxicated. Cell phones are involved in a number of deaths annually and the numbers are increasing as the usage becomes more prevalent.
Exhaustion leads to up to 1.9 million accidents every year. Unsurprisingly, most of these cases are at night and several lead to fatalities. It’d be best to avoid driving when tired at all, but pulling off when you’re starting to have trouble controlling the vehicle is highly recommended.
Vehicles aren’t perfect machines. They break down and can cause traffic accidents to occur if they aren’t fixed soon. For instance, engine problems can cause smoke to rise into the face of the driver. This obscures their view and is a definite safety hazard.
Over-Cautious driving occurs when people are too timid when driving. These are the folks who travel 35 MPH in a 50MPH zone because they want to be “safe.” Unfortunately, their quest for safety can often lead to vehicular disaster.
Overly aggressive driving could also be called road rage. And for good reason. This type of driving pattern is extremely dangerous. It’s characterized by bouts of anger, irrational movements, and excessive speed. It’s considered one of the most dangerous ways to drive.
Hazardous Drivers (Other than yourself)
Sometimes the road can be an extremely dangerous place through no fault of your own. Rush hour traffic is filled with other drivers who could be exhibiting any of the behavioral traffic issues listed above. Try to avoid the roads when you know they’ll be hazardous or overly congested.