What are the Top Causes of Car Accidents?
It's important to know what is happening, and what you're up against so that you can not only protect yourself and your loved ones while you're on the road, but know what to do should you ever be hurt in a car accident yourself.
Odds are against us when it comes to traveling in a motor vehicle. According to media reports, studies and statistics, the top three causes of traffic accidents include drunk driving, speeding and distracted driving. If you drive while sober, obey the speed limit and remain focused on the roadway, your chances of being in a serious accident will be greatly reduced. However, regardless of how carefully you may drive, you cannot account for the actions of others
Top Causes of Car Accidents
Some of the most common causes of serious injury accidents include:
- Drunk driving: The number of alcohol-related traffic deaths increased from 9,865 in 2011 to 10,322 in the year 2012. This increase is alarming because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the total number of traffic deaths decreased by 3.3 percent. If you feel the effects of alcohol, you must avoid driving. If you see a vehicle swerving or moving erratically, pull over and call the authorities. You can see a list of DUI statistics in Orange County from the past few years in our Orange County Car Accident Statistics Report.
- Speeding: According to NHTSA, about 55 percent of all speeding-related crashes involved a driver who was exceeding the speed limit and 45 percent involve a driver who was traveling too fast for the roadway conditions. In the year 2007, about 31 percent of all fatal crashes were speed-related resulting in 13,040 fatalities.
- Distracted driving: You are considered distracted if your hands are off the wheel, your eyes are off the road or your mind is wandering from the task at hand. When you text, your attention is diverted in all three ways, making it extremely dangerous. It is also unsafe to make a phone call, eat or drink, talk to passengers, groom, read a map or adjust a radio while driving. There were 3,328 traffic fatalities and about 421,000 injuries attributed to distracted driving in the year 2012.
- Drowsy driving: If you are feeling drowsy, you will struggle to focus on the road or to even keep your eyes open. According to NHTSA, about 100,000 police reported crashes each year involve a fatigued driver. In fact, 1,550 people are killed and 71,000 are injured in accidents involving drowsy drivers annually.
- Carelessness at intersections: Approximately 36 percent of all accidents occur as vehicles are turning or crossing at intersections. Always check your blind spots before turning, yield to oncoming traffic when turning left and obey traffic lights and street signs.
- Wet and icy conditions: It is the responsibility of all drivers to reduce their speed and to leave more room between vehicles when roads are wet or icy.
- Defective auto parts: It is important to properly inspect and repair your vehicle. You can also reduce your chances of being in an accident by staying abreast of recent part recalls and investigations. Your vehicle may be under investigation right now. You will not, however, be notified of the investigation unless the manufacturer issues an official recall.
- Poorly maintained roadways: It is the government's responsibility to ensure that large potholes and uneven surfaces are repaired within a reasonable amount of time.
Car Accident Fatalities
- The number of deaths resulting from various causes of car accidents is also alarming.
- According to Census.Gov, in 2010 there were 35,900 motor vehicle deaths in the year. The year prior, in the state of California alone, there were 3,081 motor vehicle accident fatalities.
- According to the same data from the NHTSA, there were roughly 5,000 fatal car crashes which were determined to involve a distracted driver, representing 16% of the total.
- The figures are even worse when it comes to alcohol. Drivers with a BAC of .01-.07 - under the legal limit but still registering - produced 5.6% of fatalities in 2009. Alcohol-impaired drivers with a BAC of .08 are higher caused nearly 11,000 deaths that year, 32.1% of the total.
If You Have Been Injured
Even if you are driving defensively and carefully, there is still a chance that someone will swerve into your lane or turn into your vehicle. If this happens to you, it is important that you know what to do. First, you must check to see if anyone has been injured. If someone has been hurt, you must report the accident to the authorities. While you wait for the police to arrive, you should gather the contact information from the other driver and from anyone who witnessed the accident. It can also help your potential claim if you take photos of the crash site, write down everything you remember about the accident and get your description of the crash into the police report. Make sure you never admit fault for the collision and seek out medical attention that same day.
Getting Fair Compensation
After you have received the medical attention you need, you may start to wonder who will pay for your medical bills. You have the right to file an insurance claim with the provider of the driver responsible for the crash. If the insurance adjuster denies your claim or fails to offer you an adequate settlement, you may want to research your legal options. As long as the statute of limitations has not passed, you will have an opportunity to file a lawsuit to receive the support you need. A successful personal injury claim can result in compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other related damages.
Taking Action to Protect Yourself
There are many types and causes of car accidents. Drunk and alcohol-impaired drivers, distracted and reckless drivers, speeding and more, not to mention environmental factors which could leave the government at fault due to unsafe conditions or intersections, lack of signs, and so forth.
Regardless of what caused your accident, be sure that you seek out the full compensation that you're entitled to. Nobody wants to be the victim in a serious car crash, but when it happens, then we'll be there to protect you.
Call us today and we'll provide you with a free consultation on how we can help you with your case, and what types of compensation you may be entitled to depending on the circumstances and causes of the car accident you were involved with.