While our motor vehicles appear to be getting safer, with an array of advanced technological features, the rate of injuries and deaths on our nation’s roads continues to increase. In 2015 alone, 2.44 million people were injured and over 35,000 people were killed. The fatality rate is up 7.2 percent, the largest increase in nearly 50 years.
Even a minor accident on the road can be costly, but the loss of work, property, and companionship of loved ones from major accidents is simply devastating. Whether you’re a new driver or someone with decades experience behind the wheel, vigilance and prevention are the keys to staying safe. Here are the top ten causes of auto accidents on U.S. roads.
1. Distracted Driving
The number one cause of auto accidents in the United States is distracted driving. Drivers increasingly feel the need to text, surf the web, make phone calls, eat, read, and groom themselves while driving. The impact on auto accident rates has been deadly and its effects continue to grow each year.
Pushing the limits is fun for some and feels like a necessity for others who are running behind schedule. Unfortunately speeding is the second most common cause of automobile accidents. When you speed, your reaction time is diminished, which makes it more difficult to prevent a dangerous or even deadly crash.
3. Drunk Driving
While drunk driving is the third-most common cause of vehicle-related crashes, it remains one of the most deadly. Nationwide, about one-third (29%) of all traffic fatalities are due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes. Current estimates tell us that there are around 300,000 drunk driving incidents in the U.S. daily. If you’ve had anything to drink, find a designated driver or use alternative transportation.
4. Driver Fatigue
According to the NHTSA, sleepy drivers account for as many as 100,000 accidents each year and approximately 2.5% of all fatal crashes. The risk of these crashes becomes greater between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., but afternoon crashes aren’t uncommon. Experts recommend taking frequent breaks on long trips and sharing driving responsibilities.
5. Reckless Driving
Aggressive or simply careless driving habits can lead to devastating accidents. Drivers who switch lanes too quickly, tailgate and race other cars on the road are putting themselves and others at risk. These drivers are often impatient in traffic and could exhibit signs of road rage.
Adverse weather conditions affect the condition of our roads, often making them more dangerous. Rain, ice, and snow can create dangerous surfaces for vehicles that cause auto accidents. Extra care should be taken when these conditions are present.
7. Failure to Stop
Too many drivers fail to adhere to simple rules of the road, such as stopping at red lights and stop signs, and yielding when appropriate. This disregard of rules can lead to dangerous side impact collisions, causing serious injury or even death.
8. Teenage Drivers
Few drivers begin their driving journey as safe and conscientious vehicle operators. This comes with time and experience, so it’s no surprise that teenage drivers are often involved in accidents. Having teens take a defensive driving course can help as well as educating them on the risks of distracted driving.
9. Night Driving
When the lights go out, hazards are more difficult to detect. In fact, driving at night nearly doubles your chance of being involved in a car accident. Drivers who go out after sunset should take extra care with reduced speed and a greater sense of awareness.
10. Design Defects
Believe it or not, your vehicle could cause an auto accident due to a design defect. If you’ve received any manufacturers recall notices, be sure to have them addressed right away. Defective parts and systems have been known to cause serious accidents in the past.
When driving, always be alert and pay attention to both your surroundings and traffic laws. Obviously, your life is at risk if you drive in an unsafe manner. A majority of crashes are due to human error. However, just because you are careful on the roads, there’s no assurance that others are doing the same.
If you are in a car accident that may not be your fault, you could be held responsible for damages caused by someone else. In these cases, you should protect yourself by filing a car accident claim and consulting with an attorney who specializes in auto accidents. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a crash in Connecticut, contact the experienced and effective personal injury attorneys at The APEX Law Firm for a consultation, in Hartford County at (860) 900-0900 or by using our website contact form.