In a country as big as the United States, car accidents are among the leading causes of death among the population—the majority of which are caused by human error.
Fortunately, not everybody is careless behind the wheel; however, those who are careful cannot guarantee the safety of everyone who speed, use their phones or get distracted while driving. Being safe while on the road is a community task that every driver should take seriously.
Public transportation is not available in all states, which leads to locals needing a vehicle to commute or get around the city. Even tourists sometimes see themselves in the position of renting a car to go sightseeing and explore cities. The U.S. has a very complex and thought through net of roads and highways that connect the entire country, which means that every drive needs to be careful and pay attention while on the road.
Every year, the number of car accidents, as well as the people who die in them or get insurance, increases—at such a speed that studies have created rankings of the most dangerous highways in the country. Over 30,000 fatal car accidents are registered per year; almost 2,5 million people get injured and 200,000 of those injuries require hospitalization. Every day approximately 50 people die in car accidents.
Although there are various factors that can lead to crashes, the most common causes of car accidents in the United States are the following:
The leading cause of car accidents in the country is speeding. Not abiding by the speed limit indicated in state or federal roads is the only ingredient necessary for a traffic fatality.
Experts in road safety and conditions have analyzed and established the speeds at which people can travel safely. Exceeding them will surely increase the risk of crashing.
The faster you drive, the more time you will need to stop the car, as well as the less time you will have to react to unexpected phenomena. Speeding is no minor problem: almost 10,000 people die per year due to car accidents caused by drivers that do not respect the speed limit.
A common national and international cause of car accidents is the use of smartphones, tablets or similar devices while driving. In fact, texting or talking while driving causes more than 1.5 million accidents every year.
For that reason, state and local governments have passed legislations prohibiting the use of devices while driving. Unfortunately, in some states such laws haven’t been effectively enforced, while in other states there are no laws in place to avoid behaviors of the sort.
In a world as technological as ours, not texting or receiving calls can be easily done. Most phones have a “Do Not Disturb” option that can be activated to block notifications for a while to avoid causing or getting in a car accident.
Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or even specific kinds of prescription medications has always been a problem for most states, increasing the chances of car accidents and unfortunate events by 800%. Additionally, over 40% of people who die in crashes test positive for alcohol or legal and illegal drugs.
Driving under such conditions clouds the mind and alters the perception of reality and distances, reduces reaction times, and alters the decision-making process. Therefore, to avoid such situations, whenever you are under the influence of any substance, it’s best to walk or take a taxi. Not only will you keep yourself but also any bystander out of harm’s way.
Not all causes of car accidents are due to human error; in fact, over 1.5 million crashes are caused by weather changes and catastrophes. These climatic changes can go from dense fog and slippery roads to high winds, heavy rain, snow and hail, among others.
Speed limits are set according to perfect driving conditions; therefore, when they change, drivers must lower their speed and be more careful behind the wheel. Knowing how to behave when faced with unexpected events could avoid several car accidents.
When it comes to traffic lights, there are two possible scenarios that can lead to car accidents. The first scenario is not entirely due to the driver: faulty traffic lights. These lights should be changed or repaired as soon as possible, because people who are unfamiliar with the area may not quite understand the order for crossing and drive through an intersection, causing a deathly car accident.
The second scenario involves the premise that “a red light always means stop”, which some people seem to forget. Running a red light, even when it seems like no one is coming from any direction, can rapidly become your biggest mistake. No matter what the reason for doing it may be, by disregarding traffic lights you are breaking the law.
Distractions such as work, other passengers, or devices should never be more important than the activity at hand: getting to your destination safely. Therefore, it is important to understand that the rules for driving have been created to keep you and the people around you safe, life is more important.