Driving is a lot of fun but at times it can be dangerous. Sitting behind the wheel and controlling a fast-moving machine that weighs thousands of pounds should not be taken lightly. Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons and can result in extensive car or property damage, injury, death and lawsuits. Before you start your car, if you are aware of the following seven main causes of car accidents, it could save you from dealing with a police officer, doctor or car accident lawyer.
Next time you are a passenger in a car, take a second to look around at the other drivers on the road. You will likely see a few unsafe drivers, whether they are talking on the phone or texting, navigating an iPod to find music, eating food or looking somewhere else other than straight ahead. According to the American Automobile Association, between 25 and 50 percent of accidents are caused by distracted drivers.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
Drinking and Driving
Regardless of the state you are in, drinking and diving is illegal and it does not take much to go above the legal blood alcohol content limit. Drunk driving is responsible for thousands of avoidable accidents each year. If you are going to drink, have a designated driver or call a friend to get home because it is better than the alternative — riding in the back of a police car or ambulance.
According to the U.S. National Traffic Safety Association, driver fatigue accounts for roughly 100,000 accidents per year. The highest rate of accidents caused by driver fatigued is usually reported between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. To prevent accidents, it is recommended you find a safe place to sleep or switch drivers.
Driving in the rain is never easy and should not be taken lightly, even if you have plenty of experience. Weather conditions are hard to see in and require slower driving and longer stopping distances. When it rains, especially in places with limited annual rainfall, water and oil on the road mix to create a slick surface.
Reckless Driving and Speeding
Speeding is a form of reckless driving and can be dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the difference between the energy released during an accident when a car is travelling 40 mph and 60 mph and is more than doubled. Reckless driving also involves weaving in and out of traffic, failing to signal, driving without headlights and stopping abruptly.
Running Stop Signs and Red Lights
Too often drivers are in a hurry and do not want to waste time by coming to a complete stop. In an effort to limit the number of people who run red lights, some cities are placing red light cameras at high-volume intersections or locations where people frequently run red lights. Whenever you enter an intersection remember to look both ways for oncoming cars.
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