Car accidents are responsible for over 35,000 deaths and countless more injuries in the United States each year.
These accidents are a daily occurrence and, as personal injury lawyers, we hear about them all of the time.
What isn’t always spoken of, is the cause of these car accidents and how we can prevent them from happening.
After all, car accidents are the leading cause of preventable deaths in this country.
Safer America estimates that each year, nearly $900 billion in damage is caused by automobile accidents.
What probably comes as little surprise, drivers being distracted are the most common cause of car accidents in Missouri.
One of the most common distractions nowadays are cell phones.
Texting while driving is one of the fastest-growing and most problematic causes of motor vehicle accidents. The act of texting while operating a vehicle is extremely dangerous not only to yourself, but others in the vehicle and those on the road.
A study by the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety found that 9 out of 10 people have been distracted by cell phones while behind the wheel and over 400 fatalities since 2016 were definitely caused by cell phones.
Even more mind-blowing is the fact that it is estimated that 1 out of every 4 car accidents is caused by texting and driving.
Quick Stat: 1,600,000 estimated crashes per year are caused by car accidents
Tips for Avoiding Cell Phone Distractions when Driving: Put your phone in your trunk before driving so there is no way for you to access it.
If you are worried about your children texting and driving there are several apps that they can have downloaded on their phone that blocks texts and calls while driving.
It is also important to constantly stress the importance of safe driving to them. There is also many videos and stories online of people sharing their text and driving stories.
We see drivers speed all of the time whether it’s 5 mph over or 30.
No matter what the case is, speeding & reckless driving happens far too often and is a large cause for car accidents.
Trying to stop while speeding is difficult and often ends in a crash. Running red lights, switching lanes continuously, and tailgating are acts of reckless driving that can result in an accident.
26% of car accident fatalities are caused by one driver speeding.
Tips for Avoiding Speeding & Driving: It is important to remember that there is nothing worth dying for and there is nothing worth killing other people for, especially the risk of showing up somewhere late. Most of the time people speed to avoid being late or missing something. Setting clocks and reminders ahead of time is the best way to eliminate the need to speed.
In the society we live in today, everything is go, go, go. Due to this mentality, a lot of people try to save time with multi-tasking. In terms of eating and driving, this is a very bad idea. Eating in the car is extremely dangerous and often shifts the focus of driving to eating. Make time to eat before you begin driving or wait until you reach your destination.
Quick Stat: You are two times more likely to get in a car crash if you are eating while you are driving.
Tips for Avoiding Eating & Driving: Much like speeding, people often eat while driving to conserve time.
Eating and driving should be avoided at all costs, but if you have no choice but to eat while driving, make sure you are eating something that requires the least amount of attention as possible and all wrappers, lids and bags are opened prior to starting the ignition.
You should also make sure it is something that can be consumed with one hand and only take bites while stopped at a light or sign.
No matter how much, or how little, you have had to drink it is never a good idea to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Drinking impairs your driving and causes the mind to do many things and, most of the time, concentrating on the road is not one of those things.
We have all heard, read or witnessed the horror stories that happen after someone has been drinking and then got behind the wheel of a car. It puts not only you at risk, but also everyone else on the roads as well.
Quick Stat: 180,000 Americans have died since 2001 from the result of drinking and driving car accidents.
Tips for Avoiding Drinking & Driving: There is absolutely no excuse to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car.
If you have had anything to drink you should not get behind the wheel. You are putting yourself at the risk of a night in jail, an expensive ticket and even worse an accident that could kill yourself and others. If you think you are going to be drinking make it a priority to have a ride afterward.
Whether its a cab, a friend or sleeping on the street, make sure you know driving is not an option.
It doesn’t matter if you’re driving with 5 people or by yourself, there will always be distractions that cause you to lose focus of driving. Things like friends, the radio, your air conditioner are constantly causing us to lose focus of the road. Taking your eyes off of the road for even 2 seconds is long enough for you to get in a fender bender or even a serious collision.
Quick Stat: 660,000 people, at any given time, are distracted by their radios, GPS system or other electronic devices.
Tips to Avoid Distractions in the Car: Have a set routine for switching songs, change the station or adjust the temperature. Make it a habit to only do so when the car is stopped or, an even better solution, choose your radio station, playlist and/or temperature settings before you put the car in drive. It is also vital that the people in your car know you need to dedicate all of your attention to the road and cannot be bothered while the car is in drive.
Driving on little sleep is never okay and puts you at risk for an accident that could have been avoided.
Falling asleep at the wheel is a phrase you often hear and someone who has a history of doing this may be prosecuted for a criminal offense. Driver fatigue can range from sleeping at the wheel to just tired from not enough sleep.
A study by the CDC found that 1 out of every 25 drivers had fallen asleep while driving in the past 30 days.
Tips for Avoiding Fatigued Driving: Making sure you are well rested before driving is extremely important. All it takes is a split second of dozing off for a disaster to strike. If you think you’re at risk of falling asleep or losing focus, pull over and find another ride home or to your destination.
Poor weather can make nearly impossible driving conditions and are frequently at fault for car accidents. Rain, snow, fog, wet pavement and handful of other conditions are far too often responsible for minor to serious collisions on the road. If you or someone else on the road, is inexperienced or is driving a vehicle not meant for dealing with certain conditions, it puts the lives of everyone on the road at risk.
Tips for Avoiding Dangerous Weather when Driving: If you think there is even the slightest possibility of poor weather conditions before driving you must ask yourself if you and your vehicle are capable of handling the situation. If you are in the middle of driving when inclement weather strikes, pull your vehicle over, turn on your flashes, and wait for to die down or a ride from someone with the ability to drive in the given conditions.
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