In the United States, someone is killed in a car accident every ten seconds, on average. This is a staggering number, especially when one considers that many such fatalities are entirely preventable. Learn these top causes of accidents to prevent accidents and the personal injuries they cause:
1) Multitasking. Changing the radio station or the CD in your car is a distraction that can cause accidents. As well, reading, applying make-up, or drinking and eating while driving can increase your risk of a car accident. Make a passenger responsible for your music or create mixed tapes that you enjoy and that you will not need to change. For longer trips, use an iPod or similar device with hours of music or wait until a rest stop to change your CD. Wait until you are parked to read, apply makeup, or drink or eat. Drinking and eating are especially hard habits to break, unfortunately, because so many people rely on drive-through fast food restaurants. However, while you are trying not to spill something into your lap, you could cause an accident.
2) Drinking and substance abuse. 2006 alone saw 14,000 fatalities and many more injuries as a result of drunk driving accidents in the United States. Researchers have also found that drunk driving accidents are more likely to cause serious injuries and deaths when compared to accidents involving sober drivers. This may be caused in part by an inebriated driver’s inability to take defensive measures when a collision becomes unavoidable. As well, many drunk drivers speed because they are unable to focus on their driving and notice when they exceed the speed limit.
3) Cell phones. According to a study by Harvard University, call phone users caused millions of personal injuries and 200 fatalities in car accidents. Researchers found that drivers using a cell phone are four times more likely to cause an accident. Blue tooth technology and hands-free cell phones are not an ideal solution, either, since they do not prevent drivers from focusing on a conversation instead of the road. Many collisions could be prevented if drivers waiting until they were parked before making a call or sending a text. While many people have been at least informed that they should not drink and drive, many people do not consider driving a problem when they have been using drugs. Many people are also in accidents caused by over-the-counter medications or prescription medications. Anything that causes you to feel potentially groggy, disoriented, or dizzy can cause a serious car accident.
4) Speeding. Speeding makes it much harder to respond quickly to avoid an accident and when speeding your car takes much longer to stop. These two factors mean that when you are speeding, your chances of being in a car accident increase significantly, especially if you are in a residential area. You simply cannot drive defensively or well if you are speeding and therefore unable to control your vehicle well. You simply cannot drive defensively or well if you are speeding and therefore unable to control your vehicle well.
5) Other car accidents. Rubbernecking to see an accident causes more accidents, which is why so many car accidents happen near other accident sites. Urban areas, where traffic is more congested, especially tend to have these sorts of clusters of accidents. It is important to focus on the road when driving by an accident. Move with the flow of traffic unless officers instruct you otherwise.