The Top 10 Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
What Factors Can Lead to Car Accidents?
Each car accident is unique and can involve a variety of influences, but some general factors are cited more frequently than others in crash reports. The top causes of vehicle collisions can be split into two broad categories based on whether they were related to preventable human errors or if they were due to factors outside the driver’s control. While many risk factors for crashes are relatively obvious, such as speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol, many individuals still choose to engage in these actions. All drivers must be vigilant of the behaviors that could put their lives and the lives of others at risk. Our helpful Philadelphia car accident lawyers can outline the top ten causes of car crashes and some steps you can take to keep yourself safe.
What Are the Prevailing Human Error-Related Causes?
The commonly-cited statistic that 94% of car crashes are caused by human error has been recently challenged by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) because it is inaccurate and fails to account for the complex nature of most crashes. However, preventable mistakes by drivers do play into many accidents every year.
Unfortunately, one act of negligence by a single driver can cause an auto accident involving several vehicles. The most frequent examples of human errors that cause car crashes include the following.
Whether it is eating, talking on a cell phone, or changing the radio station, anything that takes your attention away from your driving has the potential to cause an accident. If you are moving at 60 mph, your car travels 88 feet every second. Even a few seconds of inattention can result in you striking an unseen hazard.
It can be tempting to drive over the speed limit if you are in a hurry, but it lowers your reaction time and makes you more likely to lose control of your vehicle. Speed limits on roads help keep you safe by ensuring you have enough time to stop for pedestrians or road hazards.
Driving Under the Influence
Everyone knows the dangers of driving while impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs, but some individuals still choose to take the risk, and many tragic accidents result from those decisions. Another risk factor many people fail to consider is the impact on their driving ability of certain over-the-counter or prescription medications. Be sure to read the label carefully and understand how your meds affect you before you drive.
Disobeying Traffic Signs or Signals
Intersections are high-risk areas for drivers. Running red lights or stop signs can cause horrific accidents. Failing to heed yield, do not enter, or one-way street signs may lead to head-on collisions or other crashes.
Driving when you are not well-rested can be just as dangerous as driving drunk. Fatigue impairs your ability to recognize and react to road conditions and increases your accident risk.
Failing to Use Turn Signals
Turn signals alert other drivers to your intentions and prepare them for the action you are about to take. If you do not correctly use your turn signals, you run the risk of being struck by another car as you slow down or make your turn.
Reckless or Aggressive Driving
Tailgating, rapid lane switching, cutting off other cars, and engaging in “road rage” behaviors makes highways less safe for everyone. It is vital for all drivers to follow the rules of the road and fulfill their duty to act prudently and safely so everyone can reach their destination without incident.
What Are Other Possible Causes?
As a vehicle operator, you can control some factors that may lead to an accident. However, even if you take the utmost care with your driving, you could still find yourself in an accident due to other causes. It is critical to be on the lookout for these issues and take necessary precautions to try to prevent a crash.
Bad Weather Conditions
Poor visibility, slippery roads, snowy conditions, and other weather-related factors are often unavoidable dangers.
However, drivers should ensure they have the proper equipment, such as tires with good tread and functioning windshield wipers, before venturing out in bad weather. Slowing down and driving cautiously can also help prevent crashes caused by weather.
Brakes, tires, steering mechanisms, and other vital vehicle equipment have been known to fail, resulting in dangerous accidents. As a car owner, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic for regular maintenance and stay up to date on any recalls for defective parts to reduce the chance of mechanical failures.
Poorly Designed or Maintained Roads
Sometimes roadways are designed and built in a way that inadvertently makes them challenging to navigate safely. Examples include blind intersections, steep shoulders, or roads with landscaping that obstructs a driver’s vision. Failures by local or state agencies to fix potholes, missing signs, or slippery surfaces can also contribute to crashes.
What Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Do for You?
Awareness of the common hazards you may face when driving helps you prepare yourself and avoid some dangers. You can reduce your risk of accidents by driving defensively, following the rules of the road, keeping your vehicle in good repair, and leaving three seconds of space between yourself and the car in front of you. However, there is no way to eliminate every risk or guarantee that you will never be involved in a crash.
If you were driving responsibly and still became involved in a collision, an experienced car accident lawyer from Villari, Giannone & Matteo P.C. can explain your rights and help you get back on the road again. Contact our office today at 610-609-8477 to schedule a free case evaluation.
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