Six Things Drivers Do That Can Lead to Accidents
As a motorist, it’s important to understand the leading causes of accidents so you can better protect yourself on the road. Although you can’t control the actions of other drivers, it never hurts to increase your awareness and defensive driving skills. Here are six of the leading causes of serious car accidents as outlined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that distracted driving tops the list for causes of car accidents in the United States. Sending or receiving text messages or talking on a cell phone while driving are the two top causes of accidents involving a distracted driver. Other common causes include eating, changing the radio station, talking to passengers, looking at something on the side of the road, applying make-up, daydreaming, and tending to small children while behind the wheel.
Engaging in distracted driving is particularly dangerous because it takes the driver’s hands off the wheel, causes a lack of cognitive awareness because his or her attention is elsewhere, and prevents the driver from seeing potential obstacles directly in front of the car. Despite nationwide crackdowns on distracted driving and laws forbidding talking on the phone or texting while driving, distracted drivers kill or injure thousands of people every year.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
In Kentucky, a driver is legally intoxicated if his or her blood alcohol level (BAC) is .08 or higher. The driver is guilty of an aggravated DUI with a BAC of .15 or higher. This carries much stricter penalties in terms of jail time, fines, and loss of driving privileges. Driving while under the influence of illegal drugs is just as dangerous and can subject drivers to many penalties as well. Drivers can also suffer from impaired judgment and slowed reaction time due to prescription drugs, which is why many bottles come with the warning not to drive or operate heavy machinery until the driver knows how the drug affects him or her.
It seems like everyone is in a hurry these days, and drivers on Kentucky roadways are no exception. Some drivers have simply made a habit of speeding, even if it’s less than 10 miles over the speed limit. Others routinely drive at dangerously high speeds with little regard for the safety of others. Driving over the posted speed limit means it takes longer for drivers to stop their vehicle to avoid a collision.
Running Red Lights and Stop Lights
Stopping for traffic signals can add several minutes to a driver’s commute and some take the risk of not stopping for this reason. This is no justification for endangering the lives of others since failing to stop when directed to do so increases the likelihood of side sweeping another vehicle at a high speed. Rollover accidents are especially common when drivers blow through stop signs. To protect yourself, look both ways when approaching an intersection as you approach a stop sign or green light.
Rain and Other Weather Conditions
Wet or icy roads make it difficult for a driver to brake without skidding or spinning out of control. The moisture creates slick surfaces that call for slower and more careful driving. Unfortunately, some people make no allowances for wet roads at and cause an accident because of it. Heavy winds and fog are two other types of weather conditions that can make driving more challenging. Wind affects ability to control the vehicle while fog affects visibility.
Improper Lane Changes
Drivers who fail to signal, check their blind spot, or make a last-second lane change to avoid missing an exit put everyone else on the road in danger. It’s imperative for drivers to check the rearview mirror, side mirror, and look over their shoulder to avoid an accident. Knowing the route and planning lane changes and exits ahead of time helps to improve safety as well.
We Represent Car Accident Victims
When you obey traffic rules and drive as safely as possible, it’s especially frustrating to find yourself seriously injured due to someone else’s negligent actions. If that has happened to you, John H. Ruby and Associates is here to help. Please contact us at 502-895-2626 to request a free review of your personal injury case.