Driving comes with inherent risks, and there is no way to completely eliminate them. Despite this, drivers can dramatically reduce their odds of being involved in a motor vehicle accident by practicing safe driving techniques. The following tips will help you and your loved ones to stay safe when you’re on the road.
In a perfect world, every driver would be safe, aware, and considerate. Unfortunately, that is not the world in which human beings live, so a cautious driver must know the most common car accident scenarios. The most common causes of car accidents include:
- Driving under the influence
- Distracted driving
- Failure to maintain critical vehicle components
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Unfamiliarity with the roadway
- Following too closely
Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is the most avoidable cause of car accidents. Every year in the United States, police arrest more than a million impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, crashes involving drunk driving kill nearly 30 Americans every day.
There is no shortage of distractions while driving. Using a cellular phone, adjusting the radio dial, driving while fatigued, or even just daydreaming can all have devastating consequences.
There are ways to cut down on these distractions. Putting cellular phones on airplane mode while driving, using streaming services for music instead of compact discs, and pulling over to rest instead of driving fatigued can mean the difference between arriving safely and not arriving at all.
Failure to Maintain Critical Vehicle Components
Maintaining a vehicle’s crucial systems is one of the easiest ways to stay safe on the road. It’s ironic that the same people who never neglect washing their cars are often the same folks who neglect life-saving vehicle components. The most common components that cause vehicles to crash, according to the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS), are tire or wheel components (43% of vehicle-related causes) and braking system failure (25% of vehicle-related causes).
Driving Too Fast for Road Conditions
It’s important for drivers to realize that posted speed limits are created with dry, clear conditions in mind, and speed should be reduced when there are wet, foggy, or icy conditions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends that drivers reduce their speed by one-third in rainy conditions and by one-half or more in snowy conditions.
Unfamiliarity With the Roadway
There’s a statistic people love to quote: most car accidents occur within five minutes or less from a driver’s home. This is a fallacy for two reasons. Firstly, this is only true for about one-third of accidents, not most. Secondly, within five minutes of home is where most people spend the vast majority of their time, so this statistic should not be taken as evidence of anything.
Being unfamiliar with the roadway absolutely increases drivers’ odds of being involved in an accident. People driving in unfamiliar places should cut out distractions entirely; they should kill the radio, ask passengers to be quiet, and stay ready for anything.
Following Too Closely
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of crashes. There’s often not much a driver can do to avoid being rear-ended, but the opposite is true when it comes to rear-ending others. Maintaining a healthy gap between themselves and the vehicles in front of them gives drivers more time to react to a situation and avoid a collision.
A lot of this stuff seems like pure common sense, but these factors cause collisions every day and are all too often neglected. Driving sober, limiting distractions, maintaining mechanical components, and paying attention to following distance will help keep everyone on the roadway safer.