Many of us know the most common causes of car accidents, but far more of us do not safeguard against them on a daily basis. In order to avoid these common causes or mistakes, we need heighten our awareness of them. One of the best ways to heighten our awareness of them, is through practice and review. With that in mind, let us examine 5 of the top causes of car accidents.
1. Driver Fatigue: We often live our fast paced lives with our own bodies running on empty. Sleep deprivation is the root cause of many problems including diminished work productivity, poor health and car accidents, to name a few. All too often, especially on long trips, we refuse to acknowledge just how tired we are when driving. A common mistake is believing that you can drive a "little longer" before needing to stop. To avoid this pitfall, relinquish the driving to a licensed passenger at the first sign of fatigue and if you are alone, stop and rest before continuing on.
2. Weather: Inclement weather is another top cause of car accidents. Poor visibility coupled with wet and/or frozen road surfaces is a deadly combination. Reportedly, approximately 11% of car accident fatalities are attributable to bad weather. The best way to avoid this statistic, is to stay home and not drive at all when the weather is bad. If you must drive during bad weather, then do so with caution.
3. Driver Inattention: When it comes to driving, perhaps it is best to heed the motherly command to "pay attention." All to often drivers are distracted by talking on the cell phone, texting, making music selections, conversations with passengers, eating, smoking and more. I once even witnessed a man eating a plate of spaghetti with a fork, while driving on the Grand Central Parkway! Unfortunately, driver inattention is no joke and causes approximately 16% of car accident fatalities. The best advice here, is to listen to your mother and focus.
4. Speeding/Aggressive Behavior: We have speed limits for good reason, yet all too often we disregard them in favor of our impatience. Tailgating, unsafe lane changes, excessive use of the horn and other aggressive behavior often go hand in hand with speeding. The unfortunate result is approximately 31% of car accident fatalities. It is strongly advisable to obey the speed limit, avoid driving while angry and to stay out of the way of those exhibiting aggressive behavior behind the wheel.
5. Alcohol/Drugs: It should come as no surprise that alcohol and drug influence is one of the top causes of car accidents, accounting for approximately one third of all motor vehicle fatalities. If you are under the influence of drugs (prescription or otherwise) or alcohol and make the mistake of driving, you may not only end up in jail but may end up not living to see another day. The maxim "Don't Drink and Drive" still rings true and applies equally to drugs.
While this article does not promulgate any new revelations when it comes to common causes of car accidents, it hopefully will serve as an important reminder that will heighten our awareness. Please drive safely and avoid becoming another statistic.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.