We see them on the side of the road or on the news every single day — car accidents. Whether they’re minor fender benders or major accidents, more than 15,000 accidents happen every single day. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common things that cause car accidents and how to avoid them.
1. Distracted Driving
According to the CDC, more than 1,000 accidents a day are directly attributed to distracted driving, and the biggest cause of driver distraction are cell phones and other electronic devices. The easiest way to avoid this sort of accident is to simply to put down the cell phone and stay focused on the road.
We all burn the midnight oil and try to cram as much into each day as possible, but if you’re not getting enough sleep, you shouldn’t be getting behind the wheel. One study found that going for 24 hours without sleep slows down your reaction time to a point that’s equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of 0.10. Make sure you’re getting those Z’s.
3. Driving at Night
Once the sun goes down, easily avoidable hazards become more dangerous. The lack of visibility means you need to be more alert while driving at night than you do during the day. Keep your headlights on, and use your brights when there are no other cars around, especially if you’re on a road that doesn’t have any street lamps.
4. Weather Hazards
Snow, ice, rain and fog can all make driving more dangerous. Low visibility is a big problem, as are traction issues caused by water or ice on the road. Drive carefully during poor weather. If a storm is creating visibility problems, pull off to the side of the road until visibility improves. Make sure you turn on your hazard lights as well so that other drivers can see you.
5. Vehicle Defects
Problems with the car itself, including blown out tires and a failure in the steering components, can cause an accident. There isn’t a lot you can do to avoid an accident if there’s a mechanical component failure. Stay calm, and slow the car as safely and quickly as possible. It’s also worth noting that if you know your vehicle has a recall, it’s best to get that checked out as soon as possible before driving. You can also do a quick vehicle inspection for safety.
6. Inexperienced Drivers
Teenage drivers, or inexperienced drivers, don’t have the experience necessary to know how to react to unsafe driving conditions and other problems, which can lead to accidents.
Animals that wander into the road present an accident hazard, and hitting large animals can be dangerous or even deadly. Be aware of animals on the side of the road, especially when you’re driving in wooded areas.
8. Drugs and Alcohol
In 2017, more than 10,000 accident fatalities were attributed directly to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The simplest way to avoid these accidents is to not drive while drunk or otherwise impaired. Spend the money on a taxi or Uber, or just stay home.
9. Construction Zones
Highway and building construction can sometimes upset traffic patterns and create accident hazards if you’re not careful. Make sure you’re paying careful attention to any construction signs or sign holders to ensure that you’re staying safe in these work zones.
Speed limits are not a suggestion. Speeding increases your chances of getting into an accident in addition to raising the possibility of getting a ticket. Stick to the speed limits to protect yourself and the other drivers on the road.
11. Running Red Lights or Stop Signs
Ignoring red lights, stop signs or other traffic control tools is dangerous and increases your risk of getting into an accident. Pay attention to signs and traffic lights, and adjust your driving strategy accordingly.
12. Road Rage
We all get a little bit angry when traffic is slow or we get cut off by another driver, but road rage is another cause of accidents. Approximately 66 percent of accident-related fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, and over the course of seven years, 12,610 injuries and 218 deaths were attributed road rage. Stay calm on the road.
13. Blind Spots
Small vehicles and motorcycles are at risk of getting lost in the blind spots of larger vehicles. Be mindful of your car’s blind spots, especially when changing lanes. Aftermarket mirrors can make your blind spots more visible, making it easier to avoid accidents.
14. Reckless Driving
Driving recklessly doesn’t just make driving more dangerous for you — it makes it more dangerous for other drivers on the road too. Drive defensively, but don’t drive recklessly. Make your commute safer and help prevent accidents by being safe instead.
15. Road Hazards
Poorly maintained roads are another hazard that you need to be concerned about. Potholes and gravel can damage your car and cause accidents. Be aware of road hazards that are in your path — avoid them if you can, and if you can’t, try to slow down to prevent car damage and accidents.
This list is just a small sample of some of the many things that can cause car accidents. Don’t get distracted behind the wheel, and be aware of the other hazards that can cause accidents, and you’ll be much safer during your daily commute.