Top Reasons for Car Crashes
By Jeff Youngs, August 10, 2012
Nobody wants to be involved in a car crash. But it's easier to avoid one than you might think. If you refrain from engaging in the following behaviors, and choose to drive at specific times under favorable weather conditions, chances are that you can avoid getting into an accident for a very long time.
- Driving under the influence. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is one of the biggest causes of car accidents and motor vehicle fatalities. Either substance impairs your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. If you've ingested alcohol or drugs, whether illegal or prescription, it is best to stay off the roads or turn the keys over to a sober driver.
- Distracted driving. A car travels 88 feet per second at 60 mph. If you look away from the road for 2 seconds, you've driven more than half the length of a football field without looking at the road. This is why the advent of in-car and mobile technology has put the issue of distracted driving at the top of safety experts' agendas. Whether using a smartphone to send a text or using an in-dash navigation system to find an address, it is best to perform these distracting tasks when your car is parked.
- Drowsy driving. When a driver is fatigued, the steady thrum of the engine, whisper of wind noise around the windshield pillars and motion of the vehicle can make for heavy eyelids. When you feel yourself getting sleepy and nodding off while driving, it is strongly recommended that you pull over and either catch a quick nap, get some exercise, or buy a cup of strong coffee.
- Reckless driving. Traveling at a rate of speed significantly greater than that of traffic, shopping lanes (constantly switching lanes to try and pass traffic), tailgating slower drivers, and racing other drivers are all primary causes of car accidents. Refrain from engaging in these behaviors.
- Running red lights and stop signs. This is self-explanatory. If your light is red, cross-traffic has a green light. If cross-traffic has a green light, those drivers are not expecting your car to suddenly appear in front of them. The same is true for intersections with stop signs, especially if cross-traffic doesn't have to stop.
- Driving during adverse weather. Driving in rainy, snowy, icy or foggy conditions increases the chance that you could be involved in a car accident because of reduced traction, reduced visibility, or both. If you can avoid driving at these times, you'll improve your chances of avoiding an accident.
- Driving late at night. Avoid driving late at night, especially on weekends, because these are the times that other motorists who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs are typically on the roads, running red lights and stop signs or falling asleep behind the wheel.
- Tire blowout. Unless you're rolling on bald tires, a tire blowout usually comes as a complete surprise, caused by poor road conditions, debris on the road, or a faulty tire. In any case, if you experience a tire blowout, it is important to remain calm and keep the vehicle headed in the intended path of travel. Let your foot off the accelerator and slowly brake to a safe location off of the pavement to change the tire.