The Top 5 Causes of Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Car accidents are extremely common but can often be avoided if you understand some of the most common causes of collisions. Every year, thousands are injured and killed in accidents. There were over 40,000 fatalities from car accidents in the USA this past year. Before you buckle in, make sure you slow down. Find out the top causes of auto accidents and what to do after an accident.

Cause One: Pulling into Traffic

While not wearing a seatbelt accounts for nearly 10,000 auto-related deaths per year, pulling into traffic is a the most common scenario in which collisions occur. Think before you merge. Make sure you’re aware of blind spots. Stop, look and listen for traffic. If you’re making a right-hand turn from an intersection, look both ways first. Drive defensively, and take note of the other drivers. You can be hurt by someone pulling into traffic too slowly or too quickly, even if you have done nothing wrong.

Cause Two: Speeding

Between 2006 and 2016, 108,554 car accidents occurred due to speeding, accounting for almost 30 percent of auto accidents. Don’t disregard the speed limit. There’s a reason for the posted speeds, which experts have calculated will save lives. If somebody seems to be driving too fast, keep an eye out for what they may do as that driver will likely get into an accident at some point.

Cause Three: Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is another lead cause of car accidents, and the modern culprit is often texting or looking at your phone. The National Highway Safety Administration considers distracted driving to be any activity which diverts your attention from driving. This can include:

  • Eating
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Talking to passengers
  • Changing the radio station
  • Texting

Even though “everybody” looks at their phone or texts, nobody should. Put your phone away while you’re driving.

Cause Four: Bad Weather

Sometimes, driving conditions are beyond your control. Weather-related accidents, caused by rain, wind, fog, snow, and even sunshine, cause accidents every day. While many drivers intuitively understand how dangerous bad weather can be, it is common to ignore these conditions when they occur. In any bad weather condition, drive slowly and carefully, and don’t drive at all if you don’t have to. Accidents in inclement weather can quickly become more serious and as a result they make up a large percentage of accidents, totaled vehicles and long-term injuries.

Cause Five: Fatigue

Driving while tired might seem like an innocent activity, but it’s incredibly dangerous and all too common. Drowsy driving accounted for approximately 72,000 crashes in 2013. Driver fatigue happens when a driver hasn’t slept enough or has driven too long without a break, but it can also be caused by sleep disorders, shift work, medication or drinking alcohol. If you’re tired, don’t drive.

Finding Support After a Crash

Even if you think you’re not injured, it is important to stop and take stock. Call the police and exchange insurance information with any other drivers. The police can help establish what happened. Often, adrenaline may lead you to feel better than you will later, or to want to leave the scene at once. But having the police assess the damage and accident details may be invaluable both to your health and to your recovery later on.

It’s a good idea to take photographs at the scene, of your car, and any other cars involved. If somebody hit you and there’s a witness, ask for the witness’s contact information.

It’s a good idea to seek medical help if you have any pain, and particularly if have injured your head. Sometimes a “fender bender” can cause more damage to your body than you would expect, and sometimes a harder crash can leave you unscathed. It’s hard to know what will happen after an accident: the only thing that is certain is that you may feel unsettled, and that some pain and injury may not manifest themselves until later in the day.

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