Despite the rise of self-driving vehicles and other new road safety features, there were still 33,654 deadly motor vehicle crashes in the US in 2018 according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. As heart-breaking as these numbers are, they are not surprising because there has not been significant change in recent history. The sad fact is, people in the US have a one in 77 chance of getting killed in a motor vehicle crash.
This doesn't need to happen to you. The best way to combat these statistics is to educate yourself and always stay vigilant. Here are the four common causes of road crashes.
If your attention is not on the road, you won't be able to react in time when bad situations arise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9 people are killed each day in road crashes that involve distracted drivers in the US.
The CDC classifies road distractions as visual, manual, and cognitive. Visually distracted drivers take their eyes off the road. Manually distracted drivers take their hands off the steering wheel. And Cognitive distraction happens when drivers take their mind off of driving. Texting while driving involves all three types of distractions.
Focus on the road when you're driving. If something is really preventing you from concentrating, pull over and deal with it first. The minutes you save by continuing to drive is not worth the inconvenience or injury a crash could cause.
Another killer on US roads is drivers who are not fit to drive. A number of reasons may influence a driver's ability to drive. Drugs and alcohol are among the leading causes of accidents of this type. Being sleepy or sick can also cause escalating situations. Basically, drivers who are not in their 100 percent are risks to others and themselves on the road.
Like with distractions, it's better to allow some time to rest before driving. If the situation calls for you to be on the road, look for another person to drive instead.
Procrastination has never been more dangerous than when it is about your car. Badly-maintained vehicles are ticking time bombs. At best, car issues will just cause frightening sounds. At worst, they will cause frightening situations. Don't let it reach that point. Make it a habit to have regular check-ups for your car, particularly if you're going on a long drive. Don't forget that small issues can get worse very quickly if left untreated.
While you're at it, make sure you have the right tools and know-how to at least change your tires on your own. This will save you time and money for the rest of your life.
Okay. Say you've learned and applied all the precautions you can when driving. There are still countless other drivers around to look out for. These other drivers may not hold safety as high of a priority as yourself. Defensive driving is learning to carefully adapt to worsening situations on the road. It is important to allow yourself time and space to react if other nearby vehicles encounter issues. Never tailgate.
If you ever get into a crash, don't panic. Calmly assess the situation and notify the proper authorities. Find out if anyone is injured and gauge the degree of their injury. If you need it, consider seeking advice from car accident lawyers. They can tell you what steps to take next and other options available to you.