Automobile accidents are an unfortunate part of life in every part of the world where people drive, but when you are cautious and aware of your surroundings, you can avoid most incidents. Almost all road incidents are caused by human error. Being able to recognize your own weaknesses and the errors of others can help keep you and others on the road safe. Here are the top five causes of car accidents and some tips on how to avoid them.
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According to the Director of Traffic Safety at AAA, distracted drivers cause 25 to 50 percent of all auto accidents. Distractions range anywhere from rubbernecking at a nearby accident to changing the CD in the stereo player. As a driver, it’s important that you always keep your eyes on the road in front of you. It’s human nature to want to look at interesting things outside, but it’s simply not worth the risk. If you have to fiddle around in your vehicle, pull over.
Drowsy drivers can account for as many as 100,000 accidents in the United States every single year. These accidents typically occur late in the evening to the early morning. If you’re driving and feel signs of drowsiness, including difficulty keeping your eyes open and excessive yawning, pull over and take a nap. Nobody can force themselves to stay awake forever, and falling asleep on the road can lead to disastrous consequences.
Drunk drivers account for thousands of road fatalities every year. There is only one effective way to avoid drunk driving: never drink before you drive. Many people think they know when they’ve had too much, but alcohol impairs judgement, making it very difficult to determine your own ability behind the wheel when intoxicated. If you’re on the road and you spot another driver you suspect is drunk driving, make sure to call highway patrol. It may save someone’s life.
Drivers who love to speed often see speed limits as a pointless rule of the road, but excessive speed can be very dangerous. When you’re going really fast, the time you have to react to incidents in front of you is drastically reduced. This makes it very difficult to avoid rear ending other cars, stop at changing stoplights and react to changing road conditions. In addition, high speed increases the severity of accidents when they occur. To avoid the danger of excessive speeding, follow the posted speed limits or go with the flow of traffic. Getting to your destination a few minutes early is not worth risking your life.
People who respond to other drivers with road rage can account for a significant amount of accidents. Verbal abuse, obscene gestures, excessive honking, tailgating and other aggressive tactics can drastically increase the chance of an accident occurring. When you’re on the road and another driver does something you don’t like, remember to stay calm and collected. Getting angry and aggressive doesn’t solve anything. If you see another driver exhibiting road rage behavior, make sure to keep your distance and call the police if things look serious.
There’s nothing more important than staying safe while operating a motor vehicle. Looking at a nearby accident, driving while tired, drinking alcohol, speeding and getting angry at other drivers all make the road more dangerous for yourself and the people you care about. You can avoid these leading causes of accidents by being aware of their existence and staying sharp on the road.
Image Credited: Malingering