Drunk Driver, Texting Teen and Road Rage tragedies make headlines. But the vast majority of auto accidents have a more mundane cause. Traffic violations. Distractions. Sleep deprivation. Dumb things drivers do.
Most of the 6 million motor vehicle accidents every year are preventable. The questions is, are you doing your part to reduce the risks … or are you part of the problem? Ask yourself if you do any of these things..
Six Causes Of Most Traffic Accidents
The research indicates that the root cause of most accidents is … bad driving. Part of the problem may be that we have an inflated sense of our own driving skills. A landmark study revealed that 50 percent of drivers rate themselves in the top 20 percent. We all think the other person is the “maniac” or the “terrible driver”… but maybe it’s us? According to a comprehensive traffic accident analysis by Arizona State University, New America, and Slate magazine, these six scenarios account for the majority of traffic crashes:
The rolling right turn – Failing to come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign before proceeding to turn right. Most drivers are looking to the left to find their opening in the traffic. Thus they don’t see the pedestrian or bicyclist coming from the right. The slow roll accounts for 6 percent of pedestrian deaths.
Rear-end collisions – Perhaps the dashboard should say “Objects in front of you are closer than they appear.” About 25 percent of all car accidents are rear-end crashes. They happen at intersections, in stop-and-go traffic, in parking lots, or mid-block when the car ahead is turning. Common causes are aggressive driving, tailgating, texting while driving, and driving too fast in wet or icy conditions.
Nodding off at the wheel – This is a bigger problem than you may think. It’s not just drunks who pass out while driving. Sober people who are drowsy from shift work, long drives or less than 7 hours of sleep cause thousands of accidents. Microsleep – nodding off for just a few seconds – is all it takes to crash. Drowsy drivers are involved in 7 percent of all crashes, including 21 percent of fatal car accidents.
Losing control – We’ve all seen stories of drivers careening off the roadway and smashing into houses. How does that even happen? We’re simply not as good at driving as we think, especially when the situation requires sudden braking or swerving. Loss of control is a factor in 11 percent of crashes. The most common scenarios are taking curves too fast or overcorrecting for a skid.
Blind faith – The data indicates that 12 percent of crashes are caused by drivers who don’t have a full view of the road … but proceed anyway. Examples include pulling out to pass, pulling out into traffic, turning left with an obstructed view, or driving through a controlled intersection without stopping.
Wandering – Failure to maintain the lane results in sideswipes, head-on collisions, leaving the roadway, or rollovers from swerving abruptly to get back into the lane. Cellphones, eating and other distractions are a common culprit. Sudden or unsignaled lane changes trigger accidents. Misalignment or low tire pressure can also cause the vehicle to veer into the next lane if the driver is not paying attention or lets go of the steering wheel.
Come to a full stop. Get proper sleep. Put down the cell phone. Stay back a safe distance. Wait the extra three seconds. Any of these simple things will reduce your risk of causing an accident. And the life you save may be your own.