Most Americans today, have either been involved in an automobile accident or know a close relative or friend who has. In fact, the overwhelming majority of Americans will be in at least one car accident throughout the course of their lifetime. So what underlying factors are contributing to the high rate of car crashes in our society? And what measures can we employ to successfully mitigate our risk of being involved in a car accident? Understanding the factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents can potentially help drivers to be more prepared and aware on the roadways.
Fortunately, there is concrete information available that researchers have discerned from crash reports which illuminates several underlying causes that frequently lead to car accidents. One common denominator that many accidents share is the fact that one or more drivers involved in the crash were either distracted or impaired at the time of the accident. With this knowledge, we can take measures–such as enrolling in a defensive driving course or making a strong committment to focus 100% on driving–to help keep us, and our fellow drivers, safer on the road.
The following factors have been shown to increase the likelihood that a crash will occur:
Distracted driving can be caused by any number of external influences. Perhaps you are driving with your kids in the car or you begin daydreaming, thinking about the work week ahead. It only takes a brief moment to lose focus of what exactly what is taking place on the road. An accident can occur in a split second when a driver is not completely attentive and aware of what is happening around them.
Most of us know the feeling and have experienced some form of driver fatigue. Driver fatigue can occur at any time–day or night. It happens when the driver begins to feel sleepy and staying awake while behind the wheel becomes increasingly challenging. Often times, the body will naturally alert us to the fact that we are drifting off, but even falling asleep behind the wheel for a few moments can prove fatal.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving while under the influence (DUI) means driving while blood alcohol levels are in excess of the legal limit. Laws surrounding what is a safe blood alcohol content (BAC) to operate a motor vehile were established in order to keep roads safer.
Generally negligence or disregard for driving rules can result in an increase risk of motorvehicle accidents. Examples of negligence on the road way would be failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign, failure to use turn signals, or failure to exercise caution when approaching cross walks.
Speed limits have been developed in order to keep everyone on the road ways as safe as possible. Different speed limits account for differing driving conditions. When a speed limit is set, certain external factors such as road width, road curvature, surroundings (residential versus highway) are taken into consideration. Speed limits are a guidline to follow to help keep you as safe as possible while driving. Failure to obey the speed limit may lead to loss of control and an increased liklihood of being involved in an accident.
Texting While Driving
Recent media campaigns–including billboards and televison ads–have underscored the risks associated with texting while driving. In today’s fast-paced society, people have become skilled multi-taskers; nevertheless, it is never a good idea to text or talk on the phone while driving. Taking your focus off the road even for a matter of seconds can have catastrophic consequences.