Road Safety in 2016: Top 10 Causes of Car Accidents in the US

Within just a few days it will be the official first day of spring and within just a few weeks the weather will turn warm and sunny. During late spring and early summer, an increased number of motorists hit the road after being cooped up all winter due to snow and freezing temperatures.

This year, take the time to re-check your road safety tips to ensure that you, your passengers and occupants of another vehicle are safe from crashes that could have been avoided. As a preventative measure, read and understand the following top 10 causes of car crashes in the United States.

First Some Gruesome Statistics

According to ASIRT, The Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 37,000 individuals will lose their lives in car accidents in the United States each and every year. In addition to that, it is estimated that almost 2 million others will be injured or become disabled as a result of a car crash. Here is where it gets really sad, although loss of life is sad at any time:

  • More than 1600 of those that die every year will be children under the age of 15.
  • Of those that die in car crashes, almost 8,000 deaths involved drivers between 16 and 20 years of age.
  • Of those US citizens traveling abroad, car crashes are the leading cause of death in foreign countries.

And if those statistics aren’t gruesome enough, consider the cost. It is estimated that driving accidents cost US taxpayers almost $231 billion each and every year. Not only is there a cost in human life but a financial cost as well.

Leading Causes of Crashes in the US

Although these may be off by a place or two in the actual ranking, the only one that is for sure would be that in the number one position as the leading causes of crashes. The top ten causes of car crashes in the US according to the latest statistical data released by the Department of Transportation include:

  1. Distractions while Driving – Typically this is due to illegal use of cell phones but other causes include reaching over to tune the radio, talking to passengers and believe it or not, lighting a cigarette while trying to handle the wheel. Many driving teachers suggest using disposable e-cigs that can simply be puffed with no distractions as they aren’t ever lit up.
  2. Over the Speed Limit (Speeding) – Many times the driver is going anywhere from 10 to 30 miles (or more!) above the speed limit and it is a fact that driving fast does reduce reaction times. Want to avoid an accident? Obey the speed limits.
  3. DUI (Drunk Driving) – Each state has a legal blood alcohol limit but no matter what it is, the rule of thumb is that even if you’ve had a single drink you should let someone else do the driving.
  4. Reckless / Careless Driving – This can be the result of a number of careless behaviors when behind the wheel. From speeding to improper change of lanes to tailing too close, if you are not obeying the traffic laws, chances are you are being careless.
  5. Weather (Especially Rain) – Not only does heavy rain create poor visibility but rain on oil-slicked roads makes it difficult to stop on the drop of a dime. Snow and high winds are also weather-related causes of traffic accidents but not nearly as numerous as those related to rain.
  6. Failure to Stop at Traffic Lights – What needs to be said about running a red light? If you fail to yield the right of way while another car is traveling through the intersection, an accident will probably ensue with you being at fault.
  7. Failure to Obey Stop Signs – Next in line is failing to stop at stop signs. Just as in failure to yield the right way at red lights, failing to stop at stops signs is a leading cause of crashes.
  8. Teen Drivers – No one is singling out teen drivers to be mean. The reality is that they are simply inexperienced and typically more careless than older, more seasoned drivers. With age comes experience so if you are a teen, it is better to be slow than sorry. Slow down, learn the rules of the road and be patient. Good driving will come in time.
  9. Impaired Vision of Night Driving – Typically it is elder drivers who have trouble with night vision but there are younger adults who also suffer this impairment as well, so if you have trouble seeing at night either find an alternate driver, wait until daylight to travel or simply slow down and take it easy.
  10. Defects within the Design of the Vehicle – Every day you hear of a class action lawsuit involving recalls that were never made. Defects within the design of the car come in as number 10 in the leading causes of traffic accidents in the United States.

So here you have the top ten causes of car crashes in the United States and some pretty gruesome statistics. Don’t leave yourself open to being on the wrong side of the coin so learn these causes and work to avoid them. Your life and the lives of those you love could depend on it.

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Facing a Lawsuit After a DUI? Here’s What You Need to Do

A car accident is an unexpected experience, and can be extremely emotionally draining on all parties involved. In the event you were involved in a car accident because of a DUI, you could be facing a court appearance or jail time for your decision to drive under the influence.

In many cases, if other parties were injured in the accident, you may also be facing a lawsuit. If being sued for driving under the influence, you may be wondering what you need to do next. For most people, this is unchartered territory and is an incredibly complicated process. Knowing what to expect in the coming days and months can help you resolve the issue as best as possible.

Are You Being Sued?

For those unfamiliar with the law, it can be confusing to decipher all of the jargon being used. However, if you are being sued, you should be served with a formal lawsuit complaint. Typically a police officer or some other court official will give you your summons to appear in court.

Insurance Company

If you have been served with a lawsuit summons, it is important you let your insurance company as soon as possible. In some cases, your insurance company will step up to defend you if the lawsuit is suing you for reasons that your car insurance policy covers. Most insurance companies will hire San Diego DUI attorneys, or DUI attorneys local to your area, to represent you well throughout the lawsuit.

However, in some instances, your insurance company may not defend you, especially if the situation falls out of the lines of coverage from your insurance policy.

Lawyer Up

Because insurance companies only cover an injury lawsuit if the accident is covered by the insurance policy, it is a smart move to hire a personal attorney if you were charged with a DUI. If you are being sued, it is important that you act quickly and respond to the lawsuit as soon as possible. One of the best ways to ensure you are doing everything correctly is to hire a good lawyer. DUI attorneys are well educated and experienced in these areas and can provide you with the stable foundation you need to settle the lawsuit amicably.

If You Dont Have Insurance

While most areas require drivers to have insurance, or at least liability insurance, if for some reason you are not insured and are involved in a DUI car accident, hire a lawyer immediately. Not only do you need someone capable to represent you in court, you also need their expertise to file the right paperwork and prepare you for your court appearance. The court charges extreme penalties if there is any late or missing paperwork.

How Long Is the Process?

The lawsuit process can be a lengthy one, especially if the lawsuit was filed a couple years after the fact, as in some states, people can sue up to five years after the accident. While some lawsuits are over within a few weeks, it could take as long as years, depending upon the severity of the situation, the age of the accident, and other factors regarding the circumstances of the accident. When going through the process, your lawyer should be able to give you a timeframe.

Trial

Most car accident lawsuits are resolved by settlements that do not require you to go to trial. But, if the opposing party does not want to accept a settlement, or if the insurance company does not want to settle (your company or their company), you could be facing a trial.

Am I at Fault?

While it is illegal to drive under the influence, in some instances, the cause of the accident may not have been your fault. There are many factors to consider, including the other drivers involved. While you may be given a DUI for being over the legal limit, if someone else caused the accident, you are not at fault.

If you are faced with an injury lawsuit, these tips can help you defend yourself and resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/drink-driving-drunk-alcohol-808790/

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How to Protect Your Car in Winter

The winter months tend to wreak havoc on cars, especially the ones that sit outside in the cold temperatures. Between the below freezing temperatures, hail and ice, melting snow, and salted roads, cars are extremely vulnerable to damage during the winter.

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While there is no way to protect cars completely from the winter season, there are some preventative measures you can take to keep it protected throughout the season. Taking the time to care for your car can help it continue to run smoothly in the future years.

Cover Your Car

If possible, try to keep your car covered when it is not being used in winter. Whether that is parking it in the garage, under a carport, or using a quality car cover, keeping your car protected from the elements can not only keep it safe, but also make your morning commute easier.

Moreover, keeping your car covered will keep it from getting covered in snow, which can protect your windows and windshield. Extreme temperature changes can crack glass, which could lead to damaged windshields and windows. Additionally, in extremely wet areas where it hails frequently during winter, a car cover can shield your glass and paint from chips. While using a company like Phoenix auto glass can help repair any damages, preventative measures can help you keep your car looking beautiful all winter long.

However, if you cannot cover your car, be careful when removing snow and ice from your car. Never use warm water to remove the snow, as it can shatter windows, and be gentle with your actions when chipping ice away in order to avoid damaging your car.

Be Prepared

Before winter arrives, stock up your garage with all the necessary tools you may need, including socket wrenches, screwdrivers, good cleaners, and the right glass cleaners. If you have a problem with your car, such as a flat tire, you will be happy you have all the tools you need right in your garage.

Car Maintenance

Take some time to take preventative measures such as washing your car before the first snowstorm comes. Bugs and other debris can actually freeze onto your car, making them exceedingly difficult to remove.

Do not forget about keeping the inside of your engine clean as well. Gravel, dirt, and other outdoor elements can get stuck in the crevices, which can prevent water from draining out of your car properly. If water is stuck anywhere in the car, during freezing temperatures, it can freeze inside of the car. This can lead to the car not running properly, to mildew growing inside, and even rust.

Wash Your Car

Many people do not think about washing their car during winter, as the weather often prevents it. Additionally, many think the snow and rain naturally wash their car. However, the outdoor elements have minerals in them that can damage the paint of your car. Plus, the salt used on roads can damage the underside of your car, as well as the tires, and washing your car in winter can help remove those road salts away.

Antifreeze

If the antifreeze in your car is old, it can lose its effectiveness. If it is not doing its job properly, you may notice some trouble with the way your engine runs in winter. While engine trouble is more common in winter than other seasons, by using antifreeze properly, it should help keep your engine from seizing.

Oil

Cars work harder during winter, which can mean that your oil might need to be changed more frequently. Most people follow the mileage rule or wait until their car alerts them that it is time for an oil change. In winter, however, the rules are slightly different. Keep an eye on your oil, especially in extreme weather, and make sure it is clean in order to keep your car running at optimal performance.

Floor Mats

Due to the wet grounds, your shoes can damage the interior of your car if you are not using the right floor mats. Look to use rubber floor mats that can withstand mud, rain, and snow, otherwise, your car might start to mildew on the interior.

Following these tips can help your stay protected and you driving safely during the winter months.

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