After years of being behind the wheel of a vehicle, it’s easy to forget some of the common dangers on the road. Most drivers have never actually been in a car accident, knock on wood, despite the fact that they are statistically common. While pure luck and driving skills can be attributed to this for most individuals, it’s always beneficial to learn how to reduce the odds of being involved in a car accident in the future. To that end, take all of the following information to heart in order to stay safe on the road:
How Common Are Car Accidents?
While it isn’t a very pleasant thought to consider, car accidents are actually quite common statistically. Based on recent data, it’s been estimated that there are around 13 car accidents every minute in the United States, which amounts to over five million car crashes in the span of a single year. These figures are based off of historical reported accidents, though, meaning the real value may be far higher as not all accidents are reported to the authorities if they are minor. Additionally, rest assured knowing that not every single one of those five million accidents is fatal or even results in a debilitating injury, but just know that an accident can happen to anyone.
How Many Car Accidents Are Fatal?
While those five million average yearly car crashes are certainly a troubling figure, not everyone involved in those accidents dies. However, car accidents can still quickly become fatal even when the accident is at low speeds. In fact, early estimates by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimate that about 42,795 people died in accidents throughout 2022, going to show how important it is to avoid a wreck.
The Leading Causes Of Car Accidents Around The World
As one might expect, there tends to be a theme when it comes to what causes accidents on roads around the United States and globally. There are three causes for car accidents, in particular, which have resulted in some of the highest numbers in recent years:
Driving Under the Influence
Despite the fact that drivers are told from a young age to never mix substances with getting behind the wheel of a car, many still make this choice. Driving under the influence is attributed to a large number of the five million accidents that happen yearly which is why all drivers need to make the decision to stay clean behind the wheel.
Driving While Distracted
Simple distractions while driving also contribute to a great number of accidents on the road. In the modern day, there are more distractions than ever before such as smartphones, tablets, and even the basic technology in a car. By removing your focus from the road, you open the door to accidentally being involved in a serious accident.
Finally, pure reckless driving is also one of the most common causes for accidents on the road. Whether it be running a light, speeding, or even driving far below the speed limit, any type of reckless driving can have devastating consequences.
5 Ways To Prevent An Accident On The Road
Learning how to prevent an accident from happening in the first place is the best way to keep yourself safe behind the wheel. The following five tips in particular are among the most important to keep at the top of mind:
Limit the amount of night driving you do
At night, there is limited visibility on the road which can quickly become a problem if you do not see a car coming. That’s why it’s important to reduce the amount of time you drive at night, even if that means waiting until morning to go run an errand. In addition to lower visibility, night driving often comes with sleepy drivers which is equally, if not more, dangerous.
Leave enough following distance between vehicles
Believe it or not, tailgating is more than just an annoying driving habit as it reduces the amount of reaction time that a person has if they need to make a sudden movement. This is why it’s always recommended to leave at least three to four seconds of space between your vehicle and others on the road.
Watch the road for hazards
Building off of the prior point, awareness is crucial to reducing accidents. The best way to be aware on the road is to always be watching for situations which may require quick action. Most experts recommend that drivers scan the road up ahead by about 12 seconds so that they can give themselves enough time to respond if something is in the road up ahead such as a hazard or even just traffic.
Never drive under the influence
No driver should drink or be under the influence of drugs at any time when they are behind the wheel of a car as this can lead to serious issues. Always be sure to wait until you are completely sober before getting behind the wheel so that you don’t cause an accident.
Ensure your vehicle is well maintained
Finally, vehicle breakdowns are another common cause of accidents on the road which is why taking care of preventative maintenance is crucial. This refers to the regular and routine maintenance of your vehicle, such as rotating tires or getting an oil change, so that you can be sure your vehicle is in operational condition.
Protect Yourself And Others On The Road Today
At the end of the day, a driver can only control their actions on the road and not the actions of others. This means that the best way to avoid an accident is to be a defensive driver always watching the road and for the signs that an accident may be about to occur. Remember that if an accident does occur, you should inspect yourself for injuries, get your vehicle to the shoulder of the road, and exchange information with the other driver. By following all the rules of the road you will hopefully stay safe for your entire driving career.