Unfortunately, car accidents are all too common in the United States. Although some car accidents are minor, thousands of lives are taken each year due to accidents that could have been prevented. It is important that you are cautious when behind the wheel, and you follow all traffic laws. Your life and the lives of other drivers depend on it.
Even if you are careful, be aware that other drivers may not be. If you get into a car accident, and it was the fault of the other driver, that at-fault driver should be held financially responsible for any damages to your vehicle and/ or injuries you sustain. A car accident personal injury lawyer can help you get fully compensated for your injuries, pain and suffering and economic damages.
If you’re pursuing a car accident claim with an attorney, Uplift can help you bridge the cap between injury and settlement with low-rate auto accident loans. Auto accident lawsuit loans help plaintiffs who are out of work, or paying for their medical care make it through lengthy settlements.
Continue reading this blog to learn about the common causes of car accidents in the United States and ways to prevent them from occurring.
- Distracted Drivers: Distracted driving comes in many forms. These forms include calling, texting, eating, reading, grooming or applying makeup. It is essential that you pay attention when driving. Younger drivers, especially teens, are more prone to engage in distracted driving. Each year, distracted driving is becoming more and more dangerous. In fact, it has been the leading cause of car accidents for decades. A 2015 study by the NHTSA reported that distracted driving caused 3,267 fatalities, 735,000 nonfatal injuries and damaged 3.3 million vehicles in 2010.
- Drinking and Driving: Drunk driving is the most deadly cause of accidents in the United States. The saddest fact is that all of these accidents are avoidable. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 10,265 people died as a result of alcohol related car accidents, which accounts for 29% of all United States automotive deaths. The most likely offenders include teens and young adults aged 21 to 34. It is crucial to go over the risks of drunk driving with teens, to avoid future auto accidents. Also at risk of driving under the influence are previous offenders. If you have been drinking, do not get behind the wheel. It is not worth it. Instead, hail a cab, call an Uber or let a sober friend drive you home.
- Speeding: Speed limits are often considered a nuisance. We’ve all been in a rush and tried to make up for time by exceeding the speed limit. However, did you know that speeding is the second most common cause of accidents? The NHTSA stated in their 2008 Traffic Safety Facts report that the estimated cost of speeding-related crashes is $40.4 billion per year. The report also states that 31% of all fatal crashes in 2008 were caused in part by speeding. Common causes of speeding include lateness and anonymity. Anonymity refers to a driver’s detachment and power when in a vehicle. This often leads to negligent behavior. Speeding can be avoided by avoiding tardiness, putting safety first and reporting negligent driving. As always, account for poor weather conditions and drive below the posted speed limit.
- Reckless driving: Reckless driving, also referred to as aggressive driving, is an extremely common cause of car accidents. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported that 15 state legislatures have addressed aggressive driving, and 11 states have passed legislation that define what aggressive driving consists of. Reckless driving includes changing lanes too quickly, speeding, traveling too fast in poor weather conditions, tailgating, failure to yield right-of-way, not signaling and failing to stop or yield at signs. These traffic offenses can lead to a serious accident. Remember to take your time and be patient and calm when behind the wheel. Again, nothing is worth getting into an accident over.
- Rain: Driving in the rain is inevitable. However, the slippery and dangerous road conditions require a little more caution than normal. In a report by USA Today, studies show that rain is the deadliest weather condition in terms of car accidents and kills about 7,000 Americans a year. Rainy weather driving affects a driver’s visibility and response time. To avoid these potential accidents, make sure that all the lights on your vehicle are working, the treads are visible on your tires, your feet are dry before you put your foot on the pedal and your windshield wipers are working properly. Be sure to account for poor weather by slowing down when on the road. If possible, try and avoid driving if the roads are too slick or visibility is very low.
- Running Red Lights: While obvious, this is worth discussing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that intersection accidents are most often the result of recognition error (distraction or inattention) and decision error (speed misjudgement or reckless driving). Running a red light (even if it seems like no other cars are coming) presents a serious risk and is breaking the law. If you are in a rush, you still need to obey the law. When coming to an intersection, remember to slow down and look both ways. Check that the light is green before proceeding. No human life is worth risking.
- Driving at Night: The lack of visibility during the nighttime increases your risk of getting into an accident. Night driving statistics are unsettling. While there is 60 percent less traffic on the roads at night, over 40 percent of deadly car accidents happen during the nighttime. To avoid night driving accidents, do not tailgate, make sure dashboard lights are at a safe low setting and regularly clean your windshield wipers/ windows. As always, never speed and be cautious to avoid tragedy.
- Defective Vehicles: Sometimes accidents are caused, not by human error, but by vehicle deficiencies (such as defective brakes or tires). While people in factories are vulnerable to product liability cases because they use these products daily, your car deficiencies can put you at risk. Companies will recall defective parts and vehicles. However, recalls often occur after numerous complaints have already been filed. Some examples of known product issues include Takata airbags, GM ignition switches, pressure cookers, blender blade problems and surge protector fires. Sometimes product liability accidents are unavoidable. However, you can take precautions by being aware of any recalls and maintain proper and regular maintenance of the vehicle.
- Tailgating: By following the car in front too closely, you have less time to react in the event of a sudden stop. This results in a car accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions account for about 23 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. They result in about 2,000 deaths and 950,000 injuries per year. Impatience plays a big role here. Inattention and distracted driving (such as texting) are also leading contributors to these crashes. However, there is no valid excuse of getting too close to the car in front of you. Maintain a safe distance from the other vehicle so that you avoid rear ending someone. This means driving at a safe speed that allows you to stop safely behind the car in front of you. During poor weather or roadway conditions, you should travel at a lower speed.
- Wrong-Way Driving and Improper Turns: The main causes of wrong-way driving include inattention or impairment, insufficient or confusing road signs or driving in unfamiliar territory. According to the United States Department of Transportation, nearly 355 people are killed every year in the United States due to accidents caused by wrong-way drivers. Improper turns occur when a driver turns on a red light at a “No Turn on Red” sign, turns at a stop sign or red light without coming to a complete stop, turns without signaling or turns without having the right-of-way. Engaging in improper turns can result in serious accidents and injuries. We are human; we make mistakes. However, these misjudgements can cause severe accidents. To avoid tragedy, make sure you slow down, turn on your signal and look for oncoming traffic. Be weary of street signs and signals and especially look out for these signs if you are driving in an unfamiliar area.
- Teenage Drivers: The lack of driving experience for teens can cause accidents. Most insurance agents and state laws recognize minors as special risks in terms of driving. In fact, civil statutes passed by most state legislatures hold the parents and guardians liable for their minor’s car accident. According to Teen Driver Source, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. Keep in mind that if the at-fault driver is under 18, most U.S. states have laws that hold the parent or guardian legally responsible. This is known as vicarious liability. If you have teenagers, ensure that they have taken a solid defensive driving course and are not using a cellphone when driving.
- Drugs and Alcohol: Alcohol is the main culprit for DUIs. However, being under the influence in any way (through marijuana, prescription pills, etc.) can cause tragic accidents. Drugs can have various effects on a driver and differ depending on how they act in the brain. Marijuana, for example, slows reaction time, impairs judgment of time and distance and decreases coordination. Certain sedatives called benzodiazepines cause dizziness and drowsiness. These impairments are serious and can lead to accidents. A NHTSA study found that 18 percent of drivers killed in 2009 tested positive for at least one drug. A 2010 study showed that 11 percent of deadly crashes involved a drugged driver. Avoid driving under the influence at all costs.
- Potholes: Road wear-and-tear occurs when the top layer of asphalt wears away and exposes the concrete beneath. Potholes come in various sizes and can be up to 10 inches deep and several feet wide. They act as a sort of trap for vehicles, and are one of the top causes of car accidents. Potholes can cause expensive damage to your vehicle. The impact of driving over a pothole results in a serious strain on your car’s suspension and shocks. If the pothole is deep enough, driving over it can have a similar impact of a 35-mph car accident. When you come across a pothole, be sure to report it to a state highway authority.
- Tire Blowouts: Most people don’t realize that tires can actually expire. Like anything else on your vehicle, they require upkeep and replacement. Defective tires can lead to severe accidents and injuries. According to a 2003 NHTSA report, an estimated 414 fatalities, 10,275 non-fatal injuries, and 78,392 crashes occurred annually due to flat tires or blowouts. Getting a flat tire while driving can be scary. However, remember to remain calm and maintain control of the vehicle. Pull over as soon as possible. If you cannot change the tire, call for help.
- Animal Crossings: Hitting an animal presents a dangerous situation. Animal collisions involving deer and a vehicle alone cause 200 fatalities per year. In many states, animal crossing accidents can involve larger wildlife including grizzly bears, bighorn sheep and endangered species such as red wolves. These larger wildlife accidents can often turn deadly. Smaller animals can cause accidents as well, and surprise or scare a driver by appearing on the road seemingly out of nowhere. It is important that you are aware of your surroundings and take the necessary precautions when driving in rural wooded areas with abundant wildlife. Keep in mind that most roads have signs that notify drivers of potential animal crossings. Be aware of any animal crossing signs and be sure to use high beams when in a rural, wooded area.
- Construction Sites: Construction zones can create confusion and cluster. Highway work zones have killed at least 4,700 Americans and injured 200,000 in the past five years. Be sure to follow the cones and look out for confused or pushy drivers. Drive slowly to prevent even minor accidents.
Car Accident Loans From Uplift Legal Funding
Safety comes first when behind the wheel. It is important for you to be extremely careful to protect yourself and other drivers and passengers. In the event you are in an accident and you suspect negligence of the other driver, consider filing a claim to get the compensation you deserve. Uplift Legal Funding offers car accident lawsuit loans to plaintiffs nationwide. Learn more by giving us a call at (800) 385-3660 or apply online.