Traffic accidents seem to occur more and more frequently, especially in Lousiana. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common reasons for car accidents, and steps to help prevent them.
The most common cause of car accidents is distracted driving. Drivers on cell phones, eating, texting, or even reading while driving is all instances that lead to distracted driving accidents.
Distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents on the roads in the United States, but it is not the only causes. Speeding, driving while impaired, and road conditions are also factors in causing automobile collisions.
Distracted Driving: A Common Cause of Automobile Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 3,100 deaths were caused by distracted drivers in 2017. Distracted driving is considered any activity that takes your attention away from driving safely.
Distracted driving can be broken down into three categories:
- Visual: Looking away from the road while driving;
- Manual: removing your hands from the steering wheel; and
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving
The biggest culprit of distracted driving is texting. Reading a text diverts your eyes from the road for 5 seconds. If a person is driving 55 miles an hour, you will travel approximately 100 yards without seeing the way.
If you have to text or use your cell phone, the best practice is to pull your vehicle in a parking lot and take care of your business. Texting and driving are too risky.
Driving requires your full attention. States have initiated laws curtailing the use of a cellphone while driving. Visit the Governors Highway Safety Association website, from this site, you can access the applicable laws for each state.
Speeding: A Cause of Automobile Accidents
Speeding causes car accidents; it led to the deaths of over 9,700 people in 2017. Driving at excessive speeds is dangerous, plan and comply with designated speed limits.
Speed limits are established based on road conditions and traffic. Accidents caused by excessive speeding has resulted in 26% of all traffic deaths.
Speeding not only endangers the person driving too fast but also the other people on the road. The NHTSA has put together information to help reduce the number of automobile accidents caused by speeding. You can read their message here.
High-speed drivers are more likely to lose control of their vehicle and requires a greater distance to stop. Accidents occurring at higher speeds increase the amount of damage and injury.
Driver Impairment: A Cause of Automobile Accidents
Alcohol reduces muscle coordination and reaction time. It also impairs proper thinking and reasoning, which reduces a persons ability to operate a vehicle safely. Driving under the influence of alcohol results in the deaths of almost 30 people per day.
Driving under the influence is dangerous and it’s illegal. Every state has laws making it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or higher. Blood Alcohol Concentration is the alcohol level measured by the weight of alcohol in a specific volume of blood.
Over 10,000 people died in car accidents involving drunk drivers in 2017. The 2017 number is consistent; the average amount of deaths over the last ten years is over 10,000.
Driving drunk is not only dangerous; it is expensive. If you are charged with a DUI, the penalties can include hefty fines, jail time and suspension of your driver license.
Fines can reach thousands of dollars, and if you have to retain an attorney, look to spend upwards of 10,000 dollars. To learn more about DUI laws in Louisiana, read our article.
In many states, people convicted of DUI are ordered to install an ignition interlock device. Interlock devices require a prospective driver to blow into the device before the vehicle starts.
If the operators BAC is above the pre-set limit the ignition will not unlock and allow the vehicle the be started. Interlock devices are an additional expense borne by the person charged with DUI.
If you like to drink alcohol, follow these steps:
- Have a designated driver before you begin drinking;
- Have telephone numbers of friends or family members you can call if you’ve been drinking,
- Plan to call a taxi or Uber driver;
If others are drinking, follow these step:
- Do not let friends get behind the wheel if they have been drinking, take their keys;
- If you host a party and plan on serving alcohol, be sure all guest have a safe way home;
- Encourage others to wear a seatbelt whenever they travel in a vehicle. With the number of impaired drivers on the road, it is best to take precaution and be safe.
- If you’ve seen an impaired driver on the roadway call law enforcement, you may save someone life.
Reckless Driving: A Cause of Automobile Accidents
Tailgating, changing lanes too quickly and speeding are all forms of reckless driving. Reckless driving or aggressive driving includes a multitude of traffic offenses.
The following is a list of offenses considered to be reckless:
- Violations of traffic law signals: Running red lights, stop signs, and failure to yield to traffic are some examples;
- Tailgating: following another vehicle too closely increases the chance of a rear-end collision
- Passing cars in a no-passing zone;
- Driving too fast for the weather conditions; Ice, rain, and fog increases the chances of accidents drivers should reduce their speed.
- Driving too fast for the road conditions; loose gravel, wet roads, potholes, create unsafe conditions, drivers should reduce the speed of their vehicle;
- Unsafe lane changes: Weaving between cars in traffic increases the chances of a wreck and injury.
Teenagers: Reckless Drivers
Teenagers have a propensity to show off. They often try to impress their friends by driving reckless. They must learn the extent of the damage an automobile can cause.
Remind teenagers to always wear a seatbelt, don’t use their cell phones while driving, don’t speed and obey all traffic signals.
Road Conditions: A Cause of Automobile Accidents
Poor road conditions cause car wrecks. Driving through potholes, uneven road surfaces, and road cracks create dangerous driving conditions. There are many examples of how road conditions can lead to collisions and injury.
An uneven road can cause a driver to lose control of his vehicle and cross the centerline of a highway and collide with oncoming traffic. The American Society of Civil Engineering grades each state’s roads. In 2017 Louisiana roads were rated a D.
The government should maintain roadways in a safe condition. If you spot an unsafe roadway condition contact the proper authority. If you were involved in an automobile accident and believe the roadway was a factor be sure to inform the investigating officer and confirm he notes the condition in the accident report.