Every year, millions of people are injured or killed in car accidents. These incidents can be caused by a number of different factors and can happen anywhere: on the street, at intersections, in parking lots, and more. But there are many things that drivers can do to help protect themselves from becoming victims. Read on for seven common causes of road accidents and how you can avoid them.
1) Drunk Drivers
Those who drive under the influence of alcohol put themselves and others at risk for injury or death. This is why it’s important to make plans before drinking, such as having a designated driver or calling an Uber/taxi/etc. If you’re out with friends and one of them gets too drunk, try to convince them to let you drive or to take a cab so they’ll stay safe and you’ll be able to enjoy the night. Many accidents in the US are caused by drunk drivers. If you’re interested in numbers, California drunk driving fatality statistics show that there were more than 1000 fatalities from drunk driving crashes. That’s more than 10% of the nationwide total.
2) Drug-Impaired Driving
Driving while under the influence of drugs, whether illicit or prescription, is just as dangerous for drivers and pedestrians as driving drunk. A lot of studies showed that drivers who take opioid painkillers and other medications often experience slowed reaction time and loss of coordination. This is a dangerous combination when you’re on the road. A lot of people think that prescription medications can’t affect their driving, but it’s just not true—and the tragic results prove it.
3) Speeding and Racing
Driving too fast is also one of the most common causes of car accidents in California and all across the US. Whether they’re speeding to get somewhere on time or racing another driver, many crash fatalities and injuries could be avoided if drivers were more careful. Of course, sometimes accidents cannot be prevented even when you drive at a reasonable speed because other factors come into play. But still, slowing down is one of the easiest ways to be a better driver and keep yourself safe.
4) Distracted Driving
Besides alcohol and drugs, drivers are distracted by other things while they’re behind the wheel. One of the biggest distractions, especially for teens and young adults, is their cell phones. Drivers who text or talk on their phones are more likely to get into an accident than drivers who don’t use their phones when they drive. Simple tasks like changing lanes can become difficult if you’re not paying attention to the road. That’s why it’s recommended that you keep your phone put away when you’re driving. Besides phone calls and texts, other distractions can include changing the radio station, eating/drinking while driving, watching a video on your phone, looking at pictures you took earlier in the day, etc.
5) Not Wearing Your Seatbelt
It’s really very easy to buckle up before you drive off—and it’s also one of the simplest ways to prevent injury or death in a car accident. Seatbelts have been proven to reduce fatalities and injuries during a car crash or accident. Statistics show that more than half of the people who died in car accidents last year were not wearing their seat belts. It’s unfortunate, but it goes to show you how important your seatbelt is when you’re driving.
6) Sleeping at the Wheel
Talking on the phone, texting/emailing, eating/drinking, watching a video—all of these are dangerous activities for drivers. But so is falling asleep at the wheel! A driver may nod off for just a few seconds, but it can be enough to cause an accident. Drowsy driving is so dangerous because it’s not easy for other drivers to notice that the person behind the wheel is about to nod off. If you’re sleepy, call a taxi or ask someone else to drive—it’s worth the extra cost and effort just to stay safe and alert on the road. Also, if you’re heading for a longer trip, make sure to take a break every two hours to avoid drowsy driving.
7) Not Using Your Turn Signal
Using your turn signal is one of the simplest ways to prevent an accident, but it’s also one of the most commonly ignored. If you’re not sure about whether or not to switch lanes, just hold off until you see that all roads are clear. The last thing you want is for another driver to move into your lane without looking—it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s also important to remember that you need to signal when you’re making turns because it lets other drivers know where you are on the road.
The following are some of the most common causes of car accidents and what you can do to avoid them. Whether it’s speeding, distracted driving, or not wearing your seatbelt when you should be, there is a lot that goes into preventing an accident on the road. It takes awareness and care from drivers everywhere in order to keep everyone safe.