You’ve heard it before: driving is a privilege, not a right. It’s easy to forget this fact when you’re on the road and in your own car, but when it comes to other drivers and pedestrians, there are plenty of things that can go wrong. Here are ten common causes of highway accidents and how to avoid them
Slippery roads and bridges
Slippery roads and bridges are a major cause of highway accidents. They can be caused by ice, snow or rain; oil, grease or other fluids; sand and gravel.
To avoid these slippery conditions:
- Stay alert for signs that indicate poor road conditions ahead.
- Slow down when driving on wet roads because it takes longer to stop than normal in icy conditions (the stopping distance increases by about four times). If you have time before reaching an area where there may be slushy areas or standing water on the road, turn off cruise control so that if you do hit a patch of ice your car won’t accelerate uncontrollably.
Defective tires are another common cause of accidents. Under-inflated tires or over-inflated tires can lead to heat buildup, which in turn causes the tire to fail. If a tire has been improperly balanced, it may wobble when rolling down the road and possibly cause an accident as well. Finally, worn-out or balding tires are also dangerous because they don’t provide enough traction on wet roads or snowy ones–and if you find yourself sliding out of control in either scenario…well…you get the picture!
Construction sites are notorious for their dangerous conditions. Construction workers often don’t pay attention to their surroundings and can be distracted, which can lead to accidents. Construction equipment is also a major cause of highway accidents because it has the potential to cause severe damage if not properly handled by the operator or if it malfunctions. For example, an excavator may suddenly malfunction and flip over onto traffic below it; this would result in serious injury or death for anyone who happens to be in its path at that moment.
If you find yourself driving near one of these construction zones (which are typically marked with signs), make sure that you stay alert so that you can avoid any potential hazards created by these temporary roadblocks
Fog can reduce visibility and make it difficult to see other vehicles or pedestrians. Fog can be caused by temperature differences in the air, pollution or even rain. The National Weather Service has a chart that shows how much visibility you should expect on different days at different times of year, but if you’re traveling when it’s foggy out there, keep your eyes peeled for hazards like low-hanging branches and other cars. You may want to avoid driving altogether if you think there might be fog on your route–and if nothing else works for you, try using Google Maps’ alternate routes feature!
Speeding, excessive speed
If you’re driving too fast, then you’re more likely to cause an accident. Speeding is the number one cause of highway accidents in America and can lead to serious injuries or death. The faster you go, the harder it is to stop–and even if your car has anti-lock brakes or traction control systems that help keep things under control at high speeds, those features won’t do much good if other drivers aren’t paying attention and don’t react quickly enough when they see an obstacle ahead of them.
Excessive speed also affects your reaction time: if something unexpected happens while you’re going 60 mph (the maximum legal limit), there may not be enough time for even experienced drivers like firefighters and police officers who regularly deal with emergencies on highways make quick decisions about how best to avoid danger without endangering themselves or others around them
Distracted driving, texting behind the wheel
Distracted driving is a major cause of highway accidents. Distractions include texting, eating, talking on the phone, putting on makeup and other things that take your eyes off the road.
If you’re like most people who drive their cars for a living or just for fun, you probably think distracted driving isn’t as dangerous as drunk driving. But if someone is texting while they are behind the wheel and runs into another car head-on at 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour), both drivers will likely be killed instantly because there’s no time to react when two vehicles collide at such high speeds.
The National Safety Council estimates that between 600 and 700 deaths each year are caused by distracted driving–that’s more than twice as many fatalities as occur from drunk drivers! And according to research done by AT&T in partnership with Allstate Insurance Company:
- 77 percent of Americans say they’ve been bothered by others’ use of mobile devices while behind the wheel;
- 88 percent believe it should be illegal for motorists under age 18 years old to drive while using any type of electronic device such as smartphones or tablets;
Drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving and riding unrestrained are the top five causes of highway accidents. The fact that these are preventable should make it all the more reason to be cautious on the road.
In the U.S., drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving and riding unrestrained are the top five causes of highway accidents. The fact that these are preventable should make it all the more reason to be cautious on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that speeding is responsible for about 30% of all fatal crashes in America each year–that’s about 10 times higher than any other cause! Drunk drivers account for another 8% of fatalities while distracted driving accounts for 6%. Finally, failure to use a seatbelt can lead to 2%-3% of traffic deaths annually.
The best way to avoid highway accidents is by being aware of your surroundings, obeying traffic laws and driving defensively. If you do get into an accident, make sure that you are always prepared with the right auto insurance coverage so that you can get back on the road as quickly as possible!