Statistics show that there is an average 6 million vehicle accidents in the United States each year. It’s no surprise, then, that thousands of people lose their lives and millions are injured. While injuries to car drivers are common, motorcycle drivers are more than 27 times more likely to be severely injured than car drivers. If you’ve sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you know how important it is to get help from lawyers to make sure your injuries are covered. There are several common reasons as to why traffic accidents happen. Knowing them, and avoiding them, can help you avoid a car wreck.
Why Traffic Accidents Happen
Distracted driving may increase the chance of vehicular crashes. According to the CDC, there are three types of distracted driving, which include visual, manual, and cognitive. While you should remain focused on the task at hand, which is driving, it is easy to become distracted. Whether talking to passengers, changing the radio station, or even just getting lost in thought. How many times have you arrived somewhere, only to realize that much of the drive didn’t even register in your mind? Distracted driving reduces the ability to respond quickly when needed.
Not Yielding the Right of Way
Few things are more misunderstood in traffic safety rules than yielding the right of way. The law doesn’t actually state who has the right of way, but it does say who should yield it. If two vehicles arrive at an intersection at nearly the same time, the one who arrived last should yield. If two vehicles arrive at exactly the same time, the driver on the left should yield the right of way. Failure to yield the right of way can result in motor vehicle collisions. When my Dad was teaching me to drive, he always said, “when in doubt, yield.” That little reminder had saved me from a car wreck many a time.
Not Leaving Safe Space
Normally, a minimum of two seconds distance should be maintained behind the vehicle ahead of you. This “cushion of space” provides you with a clear view, more time to respond, and more space to maneuver should the vehicle ahead of you have to slow or stop suddenly. Following too closely can lead to accidents. This applies to stopped vehicles, as well. A good rule of thumb is that should be able to see the wheels touch the ground of the vehicle in front of you. In general, this allows space to maneuver around that vehicle in the case of an emergency.
Speed limits exist for a reason. Safe speed limits are determined using an engineering speed study and help to prevent traffic accidents. Every area has its own speed limit according to its roads, population, and traffic and are calculated for dry driving conditions. The posted speed limit ensures that the driver has full control of the vehicle even if something bad happens. Speeding, or driving in excess of the posted limit, puts everyone puts the driver and everyone on the road in danger. Slowing in wet conditions is essential, because wet pavement increases risk.
Overtake and Lane Switching
You can’t overtake someone or switch lanes without proper precautions. You are supposed to see the traffic and use indicator lights before you do any of that. This is why you shouldn’t attempt to overtake the vehicle in front of you when the road curves out of view. Any vehicle coming or going on the other lane could hit when you suddenly switch lanes.
Not Respecting Traffic Laws
As I often tell my children, rules exist to keep us safe. Traffic laws are designed to keep drivers and pedestrians safe. They are not designed to oppress drivers. Failing to respect traffic laws, whether willfully or because you’re distracted, is dangerous.
Whether you’ve been driving sixty years or you just turned 16 and have a shiny new driver’s license, it’s important to know and obey traffic laws. Knowing and obeying traffic laws reduces your risk of driving related accidents. It’s also important to carry auto insurance. Many states require auto insurance. Even if your state doesn’t require auto insurance, it’s the prudent thing to do.
Check out my post on why SAHMs need life insurance, too, before you leave.