Fatal car accidents occur at an alarming rate every day in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that 40,000 Americans die in car accidents every year. This means that an individual is involved in a car accident every 10 seconds. These casualties could range from minor collisions, to fatal pileups. Based on the data, a person in the U.S. will die in a car accident every 12 minutes. This is why auto accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans 35-years-old and younger.
Because car accidents have become such a common occurrence, practicing defensive driving is more important than ever. Though driving is viewed as a personal freedom for many Americans, it is also something that holds great personal responsibility.
Avoiding 5 Common Reasons for Car Accidents
To avoid becoming another statistic, it’s advisable to practice cautious, alert driving techniques. The five most common causes of auto accidents are a result of poor driving practices and bad decision making.
1. Driving Under the Influence: Drinking and driving is one of the most dangerous decisions a person can make while operating a vehicle. The NHTSA reported that in 2011, 9,878 fatal accidents were the result of drunk drivers. To put that into perspective, it is estimated that every 30 minutes, a person dies from an alcohol-related crash. There are always options available to avoid driving under the influence.
2. Speeding: Speed limits are designed for a reason. Based on data from 2011, 30 percent of all traffic related deaths involved speeding. Always remain within the speed limits and practice safe driving.
3. Distracted Driving: Driving is a huge responsibility. Distracted driving includes operating a vehicle while also eating food, talking on the phone or texting, putting on make-up, writing a note, or doing some other type of multi-tasking. Anything you do that does not assist you in operating a 2,000 pound vehicle tends to lead to distracted driving. In 2011, 387,000 Americans were injured in accidents where distracted driving was at fault. Reduce your distractions and keep your phone on mute while driving.
4. Driving While Tired: Driving while drowsy puts not only the driver at risk, but also other cars on the road. Drifting into the wrong lane or off the road becomes a huge issue after driving long distances on freeways. Practice safe driving by always remaining alert or finding another driver to assist.
5. Running Red Lights: Another common cause of car accidents involves the act of running red lights. Traffic lights are designed to control traffic flow and help cars avoid collisions. Practice safe driving by following the lights and slowing down at a yellow light.
While it may be impossible to eliminate the risks associated with car accidents, there are things you can do to minimize your chances. Practicing safe driving habits and encouraging others to do the same is a good first step towards increasing safety on the road. And in the unfortunate event that you are