Auto accidents are costly both in terms of monetary losses and psychological impacts that they cause. The annual losses from crashes are estimated at more than $800 billion. This figure includes a variety of costs like health care and damage to public property. Then there is a loss of life and permanent injuries; damages that are irreparable and impossible to put a price on. This is why it is important to know your responsibilities while on the road. This small act contributes immensely towards lowering the risk of car accidents.
There are numerous factors that play a role in causing car crashes. While some of these might be unavoidable or accidental, the majority is things that can be avoided. The only requirement is that drivers be aware of these elements and make efforts towards curtailing them. Here is a list of eight major contributing factors in auto accidents:
1. Distracted driving
Ever since cell phones were introduced in the late 19th century, they have proved to be dangerous devices especially when driving. In the early days, things that you could do on your mobile phone were limited to texting or making calls but today the social media craze, for instance, Snapchat has given drivers particularly youngsters, new tools to play with. Unfortunately, most teenagers ignore their own safety as well as that of others by indulging in making stories while driving. The results are terrifying car accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11.4% of accidents are caused by distracted driving. And it’s not just phones; there are other elements too, like eating, reading or indulging with the passengers etc.
2. Decision-making errors
Classified under a broader category of driver behavior, poor decision making is responsible for 33% of all accidents in this division. Overall, different types of behaviors from the driver cause 94% of all traffic accidents making it the most common cause of crashes in the US.
Poor decisions include not assessing weather conditions effectively, misjudging the intentions of pedestrians or other motorists and speeding when not necessary. Even the most experienced drivers make judgment errors sometimes. The best way to avoid such mistakes is to read about the best reactions and stay focused for any untoward incidents happening on the road.
Human bodies are prone to fatigue. Sleep deprivation or being tired after a busy day can contribute to draining your energy levels. Driving while you’re not at your best is another major cause of car accidents. According to statistics, 7% of crashes are caused due to fatigue. Drivers fall asleep behind the wheel completely or phase out for a moment, causing the vehicle to veer off and collide with other objects.
4. Malfunctioning equipment
Like humans, vehicles are also made up of multiple parts. These components are not always at their maximum capabilities and are vulnerable to faults. Anti-lock brakes, cruise control, blind-spot detection, and other similar systems can fail. This means that the driver ends up in a tough situation. Despite the way these systems are marketed, they are not always reliable enough to be left without supervision. It is crucial that the driver remain extremely vigilant while using the equipment that has been fitted to their car especially the ones that were not company installed.
5. Ill-serviced vehicle
A lack of maintenance can also lead to equipment malfunctions. Regular checkups ensure that problems can be detected while they are still small. Problems that can arise in a vehicle which has not been serviced properly include brake failure, loss of tire pressure or blowouts, battery or other small component malfunctions etc. These accidents in a stationary car might not be a big hazard but if they happen while the car is moving, things can get out of hand quite rapidly. Defective tires (33%) and faulty brakes (25%) are the most common equipment failure related factors that cause crashes.
6. Hazardous driving conditions
While this is something that is not under our control, how to react to these conditions definitely is. Slippery conditions arise after rain and snow. Driving fast or sometimes taking a car out at all can be quite dangerous in these situations. Damp and slippery roads cause 50% of all environment-related crashes in the US. The authorities issue warning in each state when conditions are unsafe for driving. It is mandatory to follow these guidelines for your safety and that of those around you.
Lightning and thunderstorms, fog or glare, are other environmental conditions that hamper safe driving. They also contribute frequently to car accidents because drivers ignore the level of potential harm that can be caused in situations like these.
7. Ignorance of rules
As time progresses, people, in general, are becoming extremely impatient. This might be due to a variety of reasons, for instance, a general lack of time and a burden of tasks and responsibilities to carry out during the day. Sometimes these reasons are justified. But when it comes to traveling on the road, this is no excuse to break the rules.
Running red lights and driving on the wrong side of the road are major contributing factors to car crashes. People don’t usually expect a driver to break the law so when somebody does, an accident, even though a minor one, becomes inevitable.
Research has shown that speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents around the world It is a trend that is especially rampant in teenagers inspired by action thrillers packed with high-speed car scenes. What they fail to realize is that these activities are meant to be performed in controlled environments so that the risk to life and property is minimized. Speed limits are put in place considering a number of factors so sticking to them is in a driver’s best interest.
Being aware of these factors helps drivers avoid any of the mistakes that they might be making. Driving while distracted or under the influence of drugs or fatigue, ignoring laws or driving an under-serviced vehicle are hazards waiting to materialize in terms of accidents. It is, therefore, necessary to act safely before you’re sorry.