It happens quickly. The brake lights in front of you shine, you slam your foot, your brakes squeal, and your body is jolted forward as your car slams into the vehicle in front of you.
Getting into a car accident can lead to injuries, financial struggles, and even emotional turmoil. Is there something you could have done to prevent this from happening? While this may not always be the case, many times auto accidents can be prevented.
At Accident Care and Treatment Center, Inc. we would like to help you understand some of the main causes of car accidents and how you can prevent them. While some of these car accident causes may seem obvious, they are reminders of what to pay attention to so you can be more aware of your surroundings.
We hope our Top 20 Causes of Car Accidents can be your guide towards a lifetime of car accident prevention.
1. Distracted Driving
The number one cause of car accidents is not drunk driving, speeding, or running a red light. It is distracted driving. Distracted driving includes anything that takes your attention off the road. With all the technology we have on our cell phones, texting, changing songs, and talking on the phone, we are constantly distracted.
A few other distractions include eating food, assisting kids in the backseat, and picking up items that fell on the floor.
Speed limit signs are in place for a reason. They are to inform you of the safest speed to travel on that particular road. This could be due to higher traffic, sharp turns, uneven road, and many other factors. The faster you drive, the slower your reaction time will be if you need to prevent an auto accident and the longer it will take to stop your car.
3. Drunk Driving
It’s common knowledge that when you drink you lose the ability to focus and function properly. This is EXTREMELY dangerous when operating a vehicle. Even though drunk drivers can be prevented, they continue to cause crashes every day. If you go out and plan to drink always use a designated driver or a ride service.
4. Reckless Driving
If you don’t drive carefully you may end up in a needless car accident. That’s what often happens to reckless drivers who speed, change lanes too quickly, forget to use rear turning signals, or tailgate. Reckless drivers are often impatient in traffic so be sure to take extra care around aggressive drivers.
Weather conditions can play a major factor in car accidents. Rain is one of the most common causes no matter where you live and it’s important to pay extra attention and be cautious. Rain creates slick and dangerous surfaces for cars, trucks, and motorcycles and often causes automobiles to spin out of control or skid while braking. To avoid a car accident, drive extra careful when it rains.
6. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
Alcohol is not the only substance that can cause impaired decisions and control. Drugs, both legal and illegal, can impair your ability to fully function as a driver. If your mind isn’t clear and you don’t have complete control over your body, getting behind the wheel can lead to serious car accidents.
7. Running Red Lights and Stop Signs
Whether it is a stop sign or a red light, red means stop. Drivers that run red lights and stop signs, run the risk of causing wrongful death because they often cause side-impact and rollover collisions at high speeds. To avoid a car accident always come to a complete stop and look both ways for oncoming cars.
8. Teenage/New Drivers
New drivers aren’t always careful drivers. The motions that have become second nature to seasoned drivers are still being learned, such as checking blind spots, using turn signal lights, and following the rules of the road. When teen drivers hit the roads they don’t always know what to do and that lack of experience can end up causing car accidents.
9. Night Driving
Driving during the day can be dangerous, but driving at night can double your chances for an accident. When you can’t see what is ahead, you don’t know what to anticipate as you drive towards it. As the sun goes down, your awareness of the road and cars around you must go up.
10. Unsafe Lane Changes
There will always come a time where you need to get over to another lane. When drivers don’t make safe lane changes, it often leads to a car accident. To prevent an accident use your left and right turn signals and always check your blind spots before proceeding to the left lane or right lane.
11. Improper Turns
The reason that we have stop lights, turn signals, and lanes designated for moving either right or left as opposed to straight is to guide drivers. When drivers ignore these guides, car accidents are often the result. To prevent a car accident, always look for signs and obey the proper right-of-way before you make a turn.
Many drivers are impatient and this can lead to driving too close to another car that they cannot react in time if the car in front of them brakes suddenly. You should always allow one car length between the car in front of you for every 10 mph you drive. Many fatal car accidents have occurred when a driver dangerously tailgates another driver at high speeds and is unable to stop in time when the rear lights come on.
13. Ice and Snow
The winter months can be very dangerous. Snow can mix with water and become sloshy and ice can be difficult to see and prevent. This danger can be escalated since most people do not know the proper protocols.
First, if it is icy or snowy outside don’t drive. However, if this is not an option, keep extra distance between you and the car in front of you, decrease your speed, go easy on the breaks at stops, and if you do hit ice do not slam on the brakes.
14. Road Rage
Everyone has been angry at another driver for one reason or another, it could be that someone didn’t use their signal lever, were going slow in the fast lane or pulled out in front of them. Some drivers let their rage take over and make unwise decisions.
By tailgating another driver in anger or speeding past another driver only to pull in front of them and brake causes many needless car accidents each year. If you encounter a road rager, the best thing to do is get out of the way and without acknowledging their acts.
Potholes can be very dangerous and if you are not paying attention to the road they can cause significant damage. Drivers run the risk of losing control of their car or blowing out a tire when they drive over these potholes. If you see a pothole in your car’s path, you can avoid a car accident by making sure that your tires do not drive over it.
16. Drowsy Driving
Driving exhausted isn’t talked about a lot, but is about as dangerous as driving under the influence. Most of the car accidents caused by drowsy driving occur at night. If you find yourself wanting to fall asleep at the steering wheel, don’t fight it. Find a safe place to pull over and take a power nap.
17. Tire Blowouts
You can see the scattered remains of tires across most highways. Blowing a tire can not only cause injury to you and your vehicle but to those around you. Make sure that your tires have the correct PSI for your vehicle and the hubcaps and bolts are secure before driving. If you do encounter a tire blowout, try to maintain control of your vehicle and pull over safely.
18. Deadly Curves
These have been called dead man’s curves for a reason. Many motorists have lost control of their cars along a dangerous curve and lost their lives in a car accident. When you approach signs signaling sharp turns and to reduce speed, do as they say and drive cautiously to avoid a car accident.
19. Design Defects
No product is ever made perfectly and, unfortunately, this includes cars. Continue to check for recalls on your vehicle to be in the know if anything could cause a malfunction in your vehicle such as Ford Mustang’s oil leak recall. NHTSA is a great place to make sure your vehicle is up to date.
20. Animal Crossings
Animals do not know the rules of the road and will cross as they see fit. Take caution when you see an animal crossing sign and use your high beams when traveling in rural, woody areas.
Other useful tips to avoid road accidents;
- Keep your car’s lights on when driving at dusk and dawn and during rainy seasons.
- Check your car in regular intervals. Constantly monitor its tires, brakes, lights, and mirrors
- Have a clear idea regarding the limitations of your car
- Keep your vehicle in good working condition
We hope you are always safe on the roads, but in the unlikely instance you have been injured in an accident, Accident Care & Treatment Center, Inc. has over 20 years of experience with auto accident injury care. It’s All We Do! Give us a call at 405-842-3209 for Oklahoma City or 214-214-7226 for Plano.