Statistics show that road crashes are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people aged 1-54, killing more than 38,000 people every year. Car accidents are also the leading cause of death for teenagers, with six deaths reported every day. Studies have shown the staggering reality that one in two children will be involved in a car accident before leaving high school and teens are three times at risk of dying in a vehicle than any other age group.
What the Numbers Say About Car Accidents in the US
Let us first see what statistics tell us about annual road crashes in America.
The traffic fatality rate in the United States is 12.4 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. Aside from the 38,000 fatalities every year, 4.4 million are injured from car accidents seriously enough to require medical attention. Road crashes cost the U.S. more than $380 million in direct medical costs. Among high-income countries, the U.S. suffers the most car accident deaths — about 50% higher than similar countries in Western Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan. The economic and societal impact of car accidents costs American citizens $871 billion. Bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities also continue to rise in the US. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more cyclists and pedestrians were killed in 2018 than in any year since 1990.
Poor road conditions. Poorly-maintained roads can lead to car accidents injuring drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Potholes, uneven road surfaces, broken concrete, exposed rebar, sinkholes, and road cracks are just some of the most common poor road conditions that can become dangerous for drivers.
What Factors Contribute to Car Accidents
Poorly-maintained vehicles. Cars that are not road-worthy — those that get little to no servicing — are accidents waiting to happen.
Inadequate enforcement of traffic laws. If traffic laws are not established, regularly updated, and enforced, the chance of them promoting better behavior on the road is very low.
Driver error and unsafe road behaviors. Human error remains the number one cause of car accidents. This includes overspeeding, misjudging distance between cars and other drivers’ speed, and making illegal maneuvers, just to name a few. It doesn't matter whether you were the perpetrator or the victim. Amid such circumstances, the best call will always be to hire an accident lawyer.
What You Can Do to Prevent Car Accidents
Each of us is responsible for our own safety and of our passengers, as well as of the other motorists on the road every time we are behind the wheel. Safety must always be our number one concern.
Get to know your car better. Pay close attention to the performance of your car in different situations and weather conditions. How are your brakes? How well does your car stop when you have to step in the brakes suddenly? Are your tires performing good even during inclement weather? Do you hear unusual rattling sounds when you turn? Do not ignore such things and ask your mechanic to take a look right away.
Keep your car well-maintained and in road-worthy condition at all times. Stick to a routine maintenance schedule and keep track of the dates of check-ups and repairs. Your vehicle will definitely perform better and you will be able to handle it easily when it is properly and regularly maintained.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Be alert and always scan the area for poor road conditions such as potholes, broken concrete, or uneven surfaces.
Do not drive too fast. It is best to avoid the fast lane as it is actually where most accidents occur. It is better to stay in the center or far-right lane as you will be able to maneuver away from potentially dangerous situations easily.
Be careful when changing lanes. Not using your turn signals, changing lanes abruptly, and cutting in front of other cars are just some of the sure-fire ways to get into accidents. Following traffic rules and common courtesy is the best way to go on the road.
Do not drive distracted. The only thing you should be doing while driving is driving. Never text, answer a call, or check your messages while driving. If you have kids fighting or being rowdy in the backseat, make sure to pull over first before handling it. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents. Do not take your eyes and mind off driving even for just a couple of seconds.
Make sure you are in good shape when driving. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or any psychoactive substance. Never drive drowsy, tired, or sleepy as you cannot be as alert as you should be. Do not drive angry, either. Research has shown that being angry behind the wheel makes you more likely to drive aggressively and increase your likelihood to get involved in a car accident.
Accidents do happen even when you are cautious, but nevertheless, putting these safety tips into constant practice can definitely up your chances in avoiding road crashes.
This article is contributed by Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers.