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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): In 2004, there were an estimated 6,181,000 police-reported traffic crashes, in which 42,636 people were killed and 2,788,000 people were injured; 4,281,000 crashes involved property damage only. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for every age from 3 through 33 years old.
Who gets in an accident, and why? Statistics from NHTSA state that:
- 40 percent of car accident fatalities occur because of a drunken driver
- 30 percent of car accident fatalities are due to driving above the speed limits
- 33 percent are due to reckless driving
Many factors can result in a traffic accident, and sometimes multiple causes contribute to a single accident. Traffic accident factors include the following:
- Driver distraction, including fiddling with technical devices, talking on a cellphone, talking with passengers, eating or grooming in the car, dealing with children or pets in the back seat, or attempting to retrieve dropped items.
- Driver impairment by tiredness, illness, alcohol or other drugs, both legal and illegal.
- Mechanical failure, including flat tires or tires blowing out, brake failure, axle failure, steering mechanism failure.
- Road conditions, including foreign obstacles or substances on the road surface; rain, ice, or snow making the roads slick; road damage including pot holes.
- Speed exceeding safe conditions, such as the speed for which the road was designed, the road condition, the weather, the speed of surrounding motorists, and so on.
- Road design and layout. Some roads are notorious for being accident “black spots” for a variety of reasons, including alignment, visibility, surface conditions, road markings, etc.
How to prevent accidents
Most traffic accidents could be avoided if people would just drive more responsibly. The following are tips on how best to avoid accidents on the road:
- Avoid the “fast lane”. By using the center or right lane on multilane roads, you have more “escape routes” should a problem suddenly arise that requires you to quickly change lanes or pull onto the shoulder. Most highway accidents occur in the left lane.
- Scan the area ahead of you, not just the car in front of you. This increases your chance of seeing a problem while still having enough time to react to it, and decreases your chance of rear-ending the vehicle in front of you should they make a sudden stop.
- Beware of blind spots. Adjust your side mirrors and rearview mirror to provide you with a near seamless panoramic scene of the view behind you, but don’t rely solely on them. Actually turn slightly to look directly into the lanes beside you to avoid missing something left undetected by your mirrors.
- Drive with your hands in the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock position. This recommended position facilitates maximum vehicle control when you’re forced into quick maneuvering to avoid a potential car accident.
- Judge a driver by his/her car’s condition. If a car’s condition indicates an inattentive owner because of body damage or dirty windows, it could easily suggest an inattentive driver, too. Also, drifting in the lane often identifies a tired, drunk or cell phone-preoccupied driver — so you should get away from that person.
- Keep your car in good shape. Stick to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule. This ensures that they’ll accelerate, stop and steer when you need them to.
The majority of accident victims are the drivers, then the passengers, followed by pedestrians, and lastly cyclists. More than 25 percent of all car drivers were involved in car accidents in a five year period.
In more than half of all automobile accident fatalities, the deceased were found not to be wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Even with seat belts being mandatory, a vast majority of people choose to disregard this safety precaution and end up losing their lives because of it.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury which was caused by a car accident, you may wish to contact our qualified attorneys at Oshman & Mirisola, LLP to learn more about your legal rights and options. We will evaluate your case FREE OF CHARGE to determine the best way to pursue your claim while protecting and maximizing your legal interests. Please contact us today at 1-800-400-8182, or contact us online for a free case evaluation.