April 2020 - The Most Common Cause of Car Accidents? Human Error
There is an average of 6 million car accidents in this country each year. Most can be attributed to human error, which is manifested in a variety of unsafe, reckless behaviors including:
- Distracted driving – a factor in about one out of every five accidents that result in injury. This includes cell phone use, eating, drinking, fiddling with controls, grooming and any other activity that takes the driver’s focus off the road.
- Speeding – the second most common cause of accidents. The faster you drive, the less reaction time you have.
- Drunk driving – including driving under the influence of drugs, even prescription medications in some cases. These substances adversely affect your ability to think and see clearly and to react quickly.
- Reckless driving – accounts for thousands of motor vehicle accidents each year. This includes aggressive driving, illegal turns or lane changes, tailgating, ignoring traffic signals, sudden braking, failure to use turn signals and other behaviors that show a disregard for safety.
- Inclement weather – accounts for about 21% of motor vehicle accidents every year, with wet roads and rain cited as the top two contributing factors. Many drivers, especially inexperienced ones, underestimate the dangers of rain, which decreases visibility and causes wet, slick roads that reduce drivers’ control. Poor vehicle maintenance exacerbates this problem; worn or underinflated tires have more trouble gripping the road.
The best defense against a car accident is to keep your focus on the road, follow traffic rules and keep up with your vehicle maintenance. But, when an accident does happen, remember to:
- Move your car out of traffic provided you can do so safely.
- Check for injuries and seek medical attention immediately if necessary.
- Exchange contact and insurance information.
- Give your report to the responding authorities.
These last two points are important as it’s against the law to leave an accident scene without speaking to authorities or at least exchanging insurance information. Most importantly, stay calm. Emotional reactions only make matters worse.