U.S. drivers were involved in more than 34,200 fatal car crashes in 2017. More than 37,000 people died in those crashes. Another 2.35 million people sustained injuries, some of them completely debilitating. All of these accidents occur in a country that depends on driving much more than public transport.
If you drive a car, your chances of being in a crash are pretty significant. Your chances of being in a crash you cause go way down if you make a point of practicing defensive driving. Your chances go way up if you are careless behind the wheel.
The Majors Firm, a Rockwall, TX law firm specializing in personal injury, says that car and truck crashes are big part of their caseload. They say that there are certain kinds of behaviors that increase the chances of being in a car crash. Five of those behaviors are listed below.
1. Using Your Phone
It is no secret that the smartphone has had a negative impact on road safety. The problem with smartphones is that they are distracting. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking to a friend, texting back and forth, or checking your social media pages. If you make a practice of using your phone while driving, you are greatly increasing the chances of being involved in an accident.
2. Driving Under the Influence
Even though we have made great strides in reducing instances of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, it still happens far too frequently. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 17,600 drivers were killed in 2017 as a result of DUI accidents. That says nothing of passenger fatalities or injuries to both drivers and passengers.
Speeding is a major factor in a lot of truck and car accidents. It’s also pretty prevalent in motorcycle accidents. Exceeding the speed limit puts you at risk for a number of reasons. First, you’re going faster than those people adhering to the speed limit. Second, speeding may force you to weave in and out of traffic in order to maintain your speed. Third, cars attempting to turn in front of you or enter the flow of traffic may have a difficult time estimating your speed. The lesson here is to simply not do it.
Riding another driver’s tail is terribly dangerous. Not allowing enough distance between you and the car in front of you reduces the amount of reaction time you have in the event you need to stop quickly. As such, you might run right into the back of the car in front of you if that car stopped suddenly. And by the way, tailgating makes the driver in front of you nervous. That could lead to a distraction and potentially poor decisions by that driver.
5. Not Knowing Where You’re Going
Last on this list is not knowing where you’re going before you get into the car. Why is this bad? Because it reduces your confidence and can lead you to make rash and dangerous decisions. If you’re driving to a destination you’ve never been to before, plot out your course before you go. If you are driving in an unfamiliar town, take a look at some maps in order to understand the lay of the land.
It’s not possible to prevent every single accident. However, if more drivers would be more proactive about defensive driving, car accident numbers would fall. A good place to start is by avoiding the five things you read about in this article.