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The Big Four: The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in America

There are tons of reasons why car accidents happen, and each accident is unique in its own right. But many accidents share several things in common, including a potential cause. While every accident has their own circumstances, the underlying cause for the accident is more than likely something that’s pretty common. In fact, the top four causes of car accidents are responsible for the overwhelming majority of accidents across the country, along with thousands and thousands of injuries every year.

In this blog, we’ll explore the most common causes of car accidents each year—the so-called “big four” of car accidents, and offer some valuable safety tips which can help you avoid them to the best of your abilities.

Drunk Driving

Perhaps the single most dangerous way to drive is while intoxicated. Whether it’s by alcohol or through drugs (even prescription drugs), intoxication significantly reduces a driver’s ability to make judgements and take action in the limited amount of time they have when traveling. Drunk drivers have a harder time staying in lane, stopping when they need to, making safe driving maneuvers, and so much more, all of which leads to a tremendously increased risk of an accident.

Drunk drivers cause thousands of injuries every year, and the unfortunate part is that these injuries are almost entirely preventable. Drunk driving is preventable by nature, and while drunk driving is becoming less and less common every year, the truth is it’s still extremely risky. This is why drunk driving is now against the law in every state, and some states are even taking things a step further by making the legal blood alcohol threshold even lower. If you want to avoid being the victim of a drunk driving accident, keep your eyes open for drivers who are showing signs of intoxication, particularly on weekend nights and holidays, and give them a wide berth. Likewise, if you know you’re going to be consuming alcohol, plan ahead for a ride home—don’t put yourself and others at risk by getting behind the wheel drunk.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has quickly risen to become one of the most dangerous causes of car accidents, and unlike drunk driving this issue is only getting worse. The biggest boon to distracted driving has been the widespread adoption of the cell phone—research shows that talking on the phone makes you exponentially more likely to get in an accident because it draws your attention away from the wheel, and even has you taking your hands off the wheel in order to operate the device. Texting and emailing also require drawing your eyes away from where you’re going, making it a serious threat to your safety while driving.

However, cell phones are not the only cause of distracted driving, and drivers have been distracted long before the cell phone ever came about. Things like changing the radio, talking to a passenger, dealing with kids in the back seat, and plenty of other actions all take part of your focus away from the road in front of you, dramatically increasing the chances of an accident. Even roadside advertisements are distractions designed to pull your attention away from the road in order to get their message across. The best way to avoid one of these accidents is a simple one: put the cell phone away, turn the radio down, and make sure your focus is where it needs to be.

Speeding/Reckless Driving

Speeding and reckless driving are both dangerous causes of car accidents because they severely reduce the amount of time a driver has to react to the changing road in front of them. Speeding in particular is extremely dangerous because of the amount of force exerted in accidents when traveling at these high speeds. Reckless driving, or driving using aggressive maneuvers, is often dangerous because other drivers are unpredictable, and a single wrong move could result in a serious accident.

Speed limits exist for a reason: they’re for our protection. By following speed limits and driving a safe, calm, and predictable fashion, those around you will be able to also drive safely, and everyone will be able to avoid a potentially dangerous accident as a result.

Bad Weather

Finally, one of the biggest causes of car accidents is one that nobody really has any control over: bad weather. As a driver, you can’t help if it rains or if fog rolls in and limits visibility. However, you do have the ability to control how you drive in these conditions. When the rain starts to fall, make sure that you turn on your lights so other cars around you can see you easier (and you can see them as well). This is also an important time to minimize distractions to the absolute lowest amount possible—when sudden maneuvers become dangerous, you need all of the reaction time you can get. Likewise, it’s best to slow down and make sure your speed is reasonable.

Car maintenance is often tested during bad weather. If you have a headlight out, or your windshield wipers haven’t been replaced recently, then visibility may become a challenge, and low visibility conditions can and often do lead to potentially serious accidents.

If you’ve been injured in a serious car accident, learn more about your rights from a Martin County car accident attorney. Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC at (866) 675-4427 today to request a case evaluation.