We’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another – what is the most common cause of collisions? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t straightforward. Many behaviors can lead to accidents on the road, and it’s essential to be aware of them all. This blog post will discuss 8 behaviors to avoid to stay safe while driving.
What is the Most Common Cause of Collisions?
Different factors can contribute to collisions on the road. However, some behaviors are more likely to lead to accidents than others. At the top of the list is distracted driving: perhaps the most dangerous behavior on the road.
So it should be no surprise that distracted driving is number one on our list of collision causes.
Factor 1: Distracted Driving
Distracted driving occurs when you do anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving, such as:
- Talking on the phone
- Texting or messaging
- Messing with the radio or searching for music on your phone
- Daydreaming or spacing out
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents on our roads today. It’s essential to keep your full attention on the task of driving at all times.
Set your GPS before you start driving, and refrain from using your phone while behind the wheel, even if it’s just to check a text or email quickly. If you need to use your phone for any reason, pull over to a safe location first.
While you may feel comfortable multi-tasking while driving, “studies show that when our brain is constantly switching gears to bounce back and forth between tasks – especially when those tasks are complex and require our active attention – we become less efficient and more likely to make a mistake.” (1)
A mistake while making dinner isn’t the end of the world. However, an error at the steering wheel can cost your health or someone’s life. Because we aren’t as good at multi-tasking as we think we are, the best approach to driving is to put all of your attention on your performance as a driver.
Factor 2: Speeding
Speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents and fatalities on roads worldwide. It’s important always to drive at an appropriate speed for the road conditions and the drivers around you.
When drivers speed, they are less likely to be able to avoid a crash in a dangerous situation. They will also have a more challenging time stopping their car. When someone is speeding, road safety structures such as guardrails and crash cushions will not be as effective in protecting people in a crash.
According to The National Safety Council, “Speeding was a factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2019, killing 9,478, or an average of over 25 people per day. The total number of fatal motor-vehicle crashes attributable to speeding was 8,544. A crash is considered speeding-related if the driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or if racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was indicated as a contributing factor in the crash.”
Factor 3: Going Slower Than the Posted Speed Limit
Federal and state studies have consistently shown that the drivers most likely to get into accidents in traffic are those traveling significantly below the average speed. According to an Institute of Transportation Engineers Study, those driving 10 mph slower than the prevailing speed are six times as likely to be involved in an accident. If the average speed on an interstate is 70 mph, the person traveling at 60 mph is far more likely to be involved in an accident than someone going 70 or even 80 mph.
Staying with the flow of traffic can help prevent accidents and injuries.
Factor 4: Impaired Driving
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous and should always be avoided. If you are going to drink, don’t drive. Don’t get behind the wheel if you take medication that could impair your driving.
In 2019, alcohol-impaired drivers were involved in 29% of all fatal crashes in the United States. That’s one alcohol-impaired driver every 50 minutes. (NHTSA)
Factor 5: Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving is a significant problem on our roads. Data analysts estimate that drowsy driving is a factor in around 20% of motor vehicle accidents. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as impaired driving. If you’re feeling tired, pull over and take a break. Studies show that if you go without sleep for 18 hours, your driving is just as impaired as someone with a blood-alcohol level of .04. A .04 blood alcohol is more than the legal limit for a truck driver.
Don’t try to push through by drinking coffee or energy drinks if you’re feeling sleepy. The best solution is to pull over and take a nap. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Factor 6: Reckless Driving
Reckless driving encompasses a variety of dangerous behaviors, such as street racing, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, making unsafe lane changes, and failing to yield the right-of-way.
All of these behaviors are extremely dangerous and put other drivers at risk. If you see someone driving recklessly, report it to the authorities. Do not try to confront the driver yourself.
Factor 7: Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, or making improper lane changes, can increase your likelihood of an accident.
When you let your emotions dictate your movements behind the wheel, your thinking brain is no longer in control. You may underestimate how dangerous your behavior is when you drive in the grip of anger or irritation at other drivers.
Factor 8: Weather Conditions
Bad weather can make driving conditions more difficult and treacherous. Always use extra caution when driving in inclement weather. Slow down and allow yourself more time to reach your destination.
If you can, avoid driving in severe weather conditions altogether. If you must drive, make sure you have a plan in place in case you get stranded.
What is the Most Common Cause of Collisions?
As we’ve seen, many things can contribute to collisions on our roads. These are just a few of the most common ones. By being aware of them and avoiding risky behavior, we can all help make our streets safer for everyone.
To stay safe if an accident happens despite good driving behavior, wear your seatbelt: Wearing a seatbelt is one of the simplest ways to prevent severe injury and death in an accident. Not wearing a seatbelt dramatically increases your risk of severe injury or death.
We Can Help
At Jarrett Law, our personal injury team works for you, helping prove your lack of fault in an accident. We investigate all factors of a collision to determine its cause. When you’re ready to fight for your legal rights, we seek the highest compensation available in Texas for your injuries. We help you understand the process as we engage insurance companies and other attorneys to negotiate your best settlement award.