Almost 43,000 people died in traffic accidents in this country in 2021. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, only 20% of those fatal accidents involved drunk driving. That means a huge number of fatal accidents are attributable to common driving mistakes that many drivers hardly think about.
Not accounting for conditions
Driving too fast for conditions is responsible for most car accidents in this country, even if it is below the speed limit. This common but dangerous habit includes driving too fast around a curve or on a hill or at unsafe speeds during bad weather. Excessive speed for conditions may also lead to loss of control.
The next highest cause is distracted driving. Engaging in other tasks is dangerous because emergencies happen without warning and drivers must act immediately. Texting, eating, and talking on the phone are among the tasks that should be avoided while driving.
Driving out of your lane can cause a collision. A driver’s inattention, confusion about highway markings or unskilled maneuvering may cause a vehicle to drift into a crash.
Unsafe lane changes are the fourth highest cause of accidents. Drivers must activate the proper turn signal, check mirrors and any blind spots for other vehicles, find a traffic gap, and adjust their speed when changing lanes.
Drivers often follow vehicles too closely. A safe following distance at 30 mph is about five car lengths or 80 feet. At 65 mph, drivers should keep at least 18 car lengths or 65 feet. There should be greater distances in bad weather, at night or while driving behind a large truck or motorcycle.
Going too slow
It does not seem obvious but driving too slowly can be illegal and hazardous. A motorist who drives below the speed limit and slower than other traffic forces other drivers to slow down or pass the slower vehicle. More passing vehicles cause more crashes.
Taking insufficient evasive actions for sudden hazards is the seventh greatest cause. Drivers must quickly react to objects falling onto the road or other vehicles swerving in their path. Being prepared and looking for clear paths is an important part of safe driving.
Driving while fatigued reduces alertness, attention, and clear thinking. Being tired reduces the ability to react to driving emergencies
Driving above posted speed limits is reckless. Speeding interrupts the flow of traffic and provides more chances for crashes with vehicles being passed. Greater speeds increase the impact in an accident. Also, driver have less vehicle control and reaction time.
Failure to safely yield is the 10th leading cause. Motorists should always yield to avoid a crash. This is especially important to safeguard individuals in less protected modes of transportation such as bicyclists and to pedestrians.
Motorists who engage in this behavior and cause an accident may be negligent. Attorneys can assist crash victims seek compensation for their injuries.