At The Kalka Law Group – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys, we've never had a client say, "when I got in the car, I knew I would get into an accident." No one plans on being in an accident, yet people suffer from car accidents every day. However, we believe knowledge is the start to change, which is why we've identified seven common causes of accidents and how to avoid them.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is undoubtedly the most common cause of car accidents. When most people think of distracted driving, they often think of someone texting while behind the wheel.
However, there is seemingly an infinite number of causes of distracted driving, so let's name some of the most common.
- Using a handheld device;
- Using a hands-free communication device (talk-to-text and Bluetooth devices);
- Talking to passengers;
- Eating food;
- Searching for a dropped item;
- Getting ready in the car (putting on makeup and shaving).
As people drive distracted for numerous reasons, we could give a seemingly endless number of prevention tips; therefore, we will focus on some of the most effective changes.
Set up your route before you leave your house: If you are going somewhere you've never been before, it's a good idea to look up directions before you leave your home. This way, you don't have to mess with your phone while you're on the road. This tip also applies to music playlists and replying to text messages!
Tell passengers they are distracting: While it's hard to be a "buzzkill," it's better than getting killed. Therefore, tell your passengers if and when they are distracting you; they'll appreciate it in the end.
Choose food that's easy to eat: Although you may want a soup or salad while driving, items that require two hands to eat are dangerous. Therefore, stick to food that you can hold and eat with one hand if you have to have a meal while on the road.
Research from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that speeding was a factor in 26% of motor vehicle crash fatalities; this percentage translates to 9,378 deaths in 2018.
Speeding is dangerous because other drivers don't have time to react to speeders' movements, and speeders can lose control of their vehicles if they have to make quick adjustments. Additionally, speeding is dangerous because drivers make lane changes or other maneuvers in front of speeders without realizing how fast they are traveling.
Here are some tips on how to prevent speeding:
- Leave on time for appointments to avoid the urge to speed;
- Realize that the math is not in favor of speeding, as traveling 10 miles over the speed limit on a 30-mile trip on a 55 mph road saves five minutes.
3. Drunk Driving
Although less common than distracted driving, drunk driving is a primary cause of auto accidents. Research shows that drunk drivers (drivers with more than .08% blood alcohol content) were involved in 21% of all fatal crashes in 2018. What's more, drivers with more than .01% but less than .08% BAC accounted for another 25% of drivers in deadly crashes in 2018.
Therefore, 46% of fatal crashes in 2018 involved alcohol in some capacity.
Tips to prevent drunk driving:
- Call a rideshare company to pick you up if you've had too much to drink;
- Establish a designated driver before going out;
- Refrain from driving if you are buzzed.
4. Demanding Right of Way
It's nice to assume that all drivers know if and when they have the right of way; however, it only takes one journey downtown to realize that some people have no idea when it's their turn to go or when to stay put. Therefore, it's wise to give up your right of way if it means staying safe.
Tips to prevent the right of way miscommunication:
- Make eye contact with another driver before making a maneuver at a stop sign;
- Always check for oncoming traffic, even if you have a green light;
- Remember to check for pedestrians before making right turns on red lights.
We've all been behind the person going 10 MPH under the speed limit, but's never a good idea to tailgate a driver. One pedestrian/animal is all it takes for the person ahead of you to slam on their breaks, leading you into a rear-end accident.
Tips to prevent tailgating:
- Leave three-seconds of space between you and the driver in front of you;
- Go around the driver if and when it's safe to do so;
- Give extra space in poor weather conditions.
6. Poor Weather Conditions
Poor weather creates bad road conditions, making it difficult to drive. Unfortunately, some people fail to acknowledge the problems, choosing to drive as if road conditions were perfect. This choice results in serious accidents and severe wounds.
Tips to prevent accidents in poor weather conditions:
- Give extra space between you and the car in front of you;
- If visibility is poor, pull over and wait for the storm to pass;
- Practice driving in poor conditions in wide-open areas.
7. Blind Spots
Regardless of where the mirrors are set, every car has blind spots. Therefore, making lane changes without checking blind spots can result in accidents.
Tips to erase blind spots:
- Always check your blind spots by looking over your shoulder before making lane changes;
- Never assume that your blind spots are empty.
Injured in a Car Accident?
If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, our firm can help. The Kalka Law Group – Personal Injury & Accident Attorneys offers award-winning representation for those looking to recover from their wounds.
Call (678) 270-2377 now for a free consultation for your case!