You feel safe on the road because you've been driving for decades and you've never been in a serious accident. Maybe you commute to work every single day. Eventually, despite the news stories and the statistics, you stop worrying about accident risks. It looks like whatever you're doing is working.
But how safe are you, really? Those daunting statistics do not exist for no reason. The news reports about fatal accidents that you can watch every night if you want; those tell a problematic story. Car accidents are one of the top causes of injuries and death in the United States. You need to really consider what your risks are and how you can address them.
To help you do that, here are a few factors that make it more likely that you will get into a crash:
- You drive too fast. When you're speeding, you just do not have as much time to react to what happens in front of you. Even five miles per hour makes a difference.
- You get distracted. Talking and texting are the most well-known distractions, but they don't tell the whole story. Other common distractions include the radio, passengers and food.
- You drive under the influence. You should never drive if you've had too much to drink, and you also need to remember the very real impact of legal medications, such as sleep aids.
- You drive aggressively. This happens when you drive too close to the next car, you change lanes quickly, you don't use turn signals and you're always pushing the speed limit. A lot of times, it happens because people are simply rushing.
- You drive at night. The reduced visibility at night is no joke. You also need to remember that drunk driving accidents spike at night, so you're at risk from other drivers.
- You drive in the rain. Again, the rain can cut back on visibility, and it can make the roads slick and unpredictable.
- You don't have much experience. Young drivers, and especially teenagers, often get into crashes that experience could have prevented. Of course, there's no way to get it other than driving more often.
- Your car isn't in good condition. Something as simple as a flat tire can cause an accident.
- You don't properly address hazards. For instance, maybe you don't slow down in work zones or around animal crossings.
- You miss traffic control signs. Running a stop sign or driving 20 miles per hour over the speed limit because you did not see the sign can cause an accident.
Understanding these factors can help you avoid mistakes of your own, but other drivers still cause accidents. If you get hurt, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.