When a car accident happens, it is important to determine the cause of that accident. Experts agree that there are many contributing factors that add to the causes of car accidents, but there are really five factors that are the most common cause of collisions.
By understanding what causes so many traffic collisions, drivers can use this information to operate their vehicles more safely on the roads each day.
According to the National Safety Council, almost 40,000 people dies in car accidents in 2019 in the United States, and over 4.4 million people were injured during that same year.
What Is The Most Common Cause of Collisions?
1- Distracted Drivers
The most common cause of a collision is distracted driving. Distracted driving is defined as “any action that diverts the attention of the driver from the road.” This can include eating or drinking while driving, changing the radio station, reaching for something in the vehicle, using your phone, or texting while driving.
Many people think that taking a quick look at their phone when a text comes in is not harmful. The average person needs 4 seconds to read a text. Four seconds does not sound like much unless you are behind the wheel of a car. In four seconds, a car traveling at 50 mph can move the length of a football field. That is a significant amount of time not to have your eyes on the road.
2- Excessive Speeds
Speeding accounts for over 50 percent of all collisions in the United States. Driving at excessive speeds does not only apply to driving over the speed limit. It can also include driving too fast in a designated area like a school zone, driving too fast in a construction area, or going too fast for weather conditions.
Collisions can happen more often when speeding is involved because of the time it takes for the driver to stop the car or otherwise react to a road hazard. Driving at excessive speeds also makes it harder for vehicles to turn safely,
On the opposite end of speeding is driving too slow. If you are driving under the speed limit, you could be impeding traffic, leading to car accidents. It is always in your best interest to drive at the posted speed limit unless weather or similar conditions require you to slow down.
3- Driving Under The Influence
While driving under the influence of alcohol has significantly decreased since the 1980s, it is still a contributing factor to car accidents each year. Sadly, many collisions become more serious when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Many actions that could have been taken to prevent the accident were not taken.
When someone is driving under the influence, they experience:
- Slower reflexes
- Difficulty in decision making
- Impaired coordination
- Slower eye movements
- Lowered comprehension skills
All of these factors lead to a dangerous situation when you are behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you are under the influence of any drug or alcohol, regardless of how little you think you may have consumed, it is always in your best interest to avoid operating a vehicle.
4- Aggressive Drivers
Road rage and aggressive driving tactics such as quick lane changes, riding too close to the car in front of you, or having to brake suddenly because you were tailgating can lead to serious collisions.
The only thing drivers should be aggressive about when they are behind the wheel is staying safe while driving.
5- Falling Asleep At The Wheel
Driving can be very hypnotic, especially if you are driving over a long distance. Falling asleep while driving can happen at any time of the day and to anyone, even if they feel rested.
When you are driving, especially over a long distance, it is important to stop and stretch your legs. Move around and get your blood circulation so that you are more alert. If necessary, use the stopping time to take a quick nap if you are tired.
It only takes a few seconds of your eyes closing to lose control of your vehicle and crash. Whenever you feel tired, do not “push through”; it could result in a serious car accident.
Of course, other things can be contributing factors that cause collisions. Bad weather, road construction, inexperienced drivers, and mechanical failure can contribute to a car accident.
If you have been involved in a car accident, protect your rights to seek compensation by contacting a car accident attorney.