Common Causes of Car Accidents

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In Philadelphia, car accidents are as large of a problem as they are across the country. In 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation released car accident statistics, which indicate that Philadelphia has the highest number of car accident injuries and fatalities in the state, with over 60,000 accidents ranging from minor to severe.

Despite regulations and other efforts to make driving safer, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for individuals under 50. Each year, more than 33,700 people die in car crashes in the United States. These statistics are frightening and, unfortunately, the numbers are only increasing. Some studies estimate that car accidents will become the fifth leading cause of death worldwide
by the year 2030 if we take no action to stop them. Driving a car or motorcycle is the most dangerous mode of transportation, but for many people it is the easiest or the only transportation available. If we cannot avoid driving, it is essential to make driving safer for ourselves and everyone else on the road. The best ways to lower the risks of driving are to understand the causes of car accidents and the appropriate driving practices needed to avoid them.

Most Common Causes of Car Accidents

A number of unsafe driving practices can cause car accidents. Most people are aware that the more severe causes, such as drinking and driving, are unsafe. However, many of the driving habits you likely employ each day may also be unsafe on the road. Consider the common act of multitasking while driving. Even though you may feel confident enough on the road that you believe you are capable of multitasking safely, the human brain is not meant to multitask and only 2% of people can do so successfully. This habit can make driving significantly riskier than it would be if you fully focused on the road. Some other common causes of car accidents include:

Distracted driving
Drunk driving
Reckless driving
Adverse weather conditions
Running red lights
Running stop signs
Inexperienced drivers
Night driving
Unsafe lane changes
Road rage
Road imperfections or defects

It is important to reduce unsafe driving practices in order to make the road safer for all drivers. Although many cities and states have laws about distracted driving as well as police officers to enforce road regulations, awareness and correction can help prevent accidents a large percentage of the time. The best way to make the road safer is to change your own driving practices.

Safe Driving Practices

You can make a difference in road safety by actively using safe driving tactics and making your best effort to follow all the rules of the road. Although you cannot control the actions of the drivers around you, you can often make quicker and better decisions when you are alert while driving. Instant decisions are necessary in order to avoid a reckless driver or unsafe driving situation. Some safe driving practices that you can easily incorporate into your daily life include:

Focus 100% of your attention on driving
Do not talk or text while you drive
Plan ahead to avoid rushing or agitated driving
Always signal lane changes and turns
Maintain a safe distance between yourself and other drivers
Make sure your tires are properly inflated
Slow down when the roads are slippery or otherwise unsafe
Use your headlights in low-visibility settings
Obey the speed limit
Practice defensive driving (driving as if other cars may do something dangerous at any time)

When you follow these driving practices, you are more likely to avoid an accident on the road. Although accidents are unavoidable in some cases, distracted driving and unsafe driving practices cause accidents more often than not. If each driver on the road were to drive more safely, the United States may be able to reduce the number of car accident fatalities by the thousands.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ryan Zavodnick
Ryan Zavodnick is an experienced personal injury attorney at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC in Philadelphia, PA. He is committed to handling personal injury matters including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, workers' compensation claims, and slip and fall accidents.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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