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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.