Causes Of Collision: What You Should Never Do Behind The Wheel
Car accidents are a leading cause of non-natural death in the United States for people aged 1 to 54. More than 38,000 people die each year in these crashes. That comes out to 12.4 deaths, per 100,000 car occupants, according to the Association For Safe International Road Travel.
Roughly 18,000 of those annual deaths occur in urban areas. In Chicago, for example, there were 319,146 car crashes in 2018, resulting in 951 deaths. Sadly, the death rate continues to go up 1,166 people died on Illinois roads in 2020.
These numbers are tragic, particularly when you consider how many wrecks are preventable. If you want to do your part to lower the number of car accidents, you need to know the causes of collisions. Let’s talk about what you should never do while behind the wheel.
Actions Cause Distractions: Common Causes Of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. It kills about ten people a day in the U.S.
The most common causes are being on a phone call, texting, eating, or being distracted by others in the vehicle. Luckily, only the last one is something you don’t have complete control over.
Cell phone distractions can be prevented by turning your phone off or silencing it, so you’re not tempted to check notifications. The most common argument against this is, “but what if there’s an emergency and someone needs to reach me?”
That’s an understandable concern, but it helps to prove the point of why you shouldn’t answer. If you pick up the phone and are told that something is wrong, you’re going to be even more distracted.
The combined distraction of using the phone and being upset greatly increases the chance of you being in an accident, which would just be another emergency your loved ones would have to deal with. It’s better to wait until you can pull over to find out what’s going on.
Eating is a much less complicated issue. If you’re hungry, either pull into a restaurant or hit a drive-through and eat in their parking lot. If you can’t spare the time to park while you eat, pick up the food and wait until you arrive at your destination.
The time you might save eating in your car isn’t worth the cost of replacing a car, or losing your life.
The last issue is the most complicated. You only have so much control over other people, so how do you prevent being distracted by them in the car?
If the person causing the distraction is another adult, you should be able to discuss the problem and make them understand the issue. It doesn’t hurt to find a parking lot to pull over in just to make your point.
If they still don’t stop, consider dropping them off and refusing to ride with them in the future. It may sound harsh, but hopefully, it’ll get your point across so they don’t endanger others in the future.
If the person causing the distraction is a child, your options are much more limited. If they’re too young to be reasoned with, you may just have to park somewhere until the issue resolves. It’s tempting to just keep going, but keep the safety of yourself and the child in mind.
Exhaust Can Cost: Why You Shouldn’t Drive Tired
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of the adult drivers they talk to admit to driving while tired. Another 20% admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once. They also report that tired driving and drunk driving are nearly tied when it comes to the number of accidents they cause.
Driving while tired slows reaction time and alertness, increasing the likelihood of you being involved in an accident. To reduce these risks, you can avoid driving late at night, pull over for breaks regularly on long drives, and drive with someone else or with loud music playing.
Warning signs of being too tired to drive include feeling like you can’t keep your eyes open, excessive yawning, a lapse of memory, or missing exits/road signs. If you experience any of these, you should pull over in a safe area at once. Failing to do so could cost you your life, or someone else’s.
Stay Alive Don’t Drive: What To Do If You’re Drunk
Drunk driving is one of the top causes of fatalities. In Illinois, for example, 30% of all traffic fatalities are related to impaired driving. With that in mind, it’s not surprising that one person dies roughly every 52 minutes in America due to drunk driving.
What you can do to help lower these statistics is simple, don’t drive if you’ve been drinking, or are otherwise impaired. It doesn’t matter if you believe you’re fine or even if you’ve done it before, you can cause an accident.
Rather than take the risk, call a friend, uber, a taxi, or any other ride-sharing service to get you home. Until they invent cars that can avoid accidents, it’s the best option. That way, you and everyone else on the road get home safely.
What Happens If The Rest Don’t Do Their Best
If you take every possible precaution but find yourself suffering an injury from a collision due to the actions of someone else, you may have a legal case against them. A lawyer can help you decide if the other driver is liable and if it’s worth pursuing a court case.
If the other driver is found to be at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, time lost from work, or other forms of suffering. While that won’t erase the effects of an accident, it can help you deal with the aftermath.
While these aren’t the only causes of collisions, they are some of the biggest culprits. Do your part to keep everyone safe by remembering what you should never do behind the wheel.