Every year across the United States, millions of dollars and lives are lost due to automobile accidents. Unfortunately, many of the accidents that cause this damage are needless and preventable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since the recording of the first automobile accident in 1896, more than 25-million people have died due accidents involving automobiles. This startling statistic represents the nearly 1.2-million people who die in the U.S. every year. What is even more disconcerting is the fact that the WHO believes that this figure could increase by as much as 65 percent over the next six years.
While it is true that no one can guarantee that they will not be in an automobile accident, there are certain factors and situations that West Virginia motorists can remember that may lessen the chance of being involved in an unfortunate accident. Being aware of the common causes of automobile accidents is the first step toward operating automobiles safety and within legal guidelines.
The most common causes of automobile accidents are:
Distracted Driving – According to the American Automobile Association, distracted driving accounts for between 25 and 50 percent of all accidents. The most common distractions include eating, mobile device use, paying attention to children or other passengers, rubbernecking at accident scenes or roadside events, adjusting controls inside the vehicle, and reading. Distracted driving is needless and should be prevented at all costs. Choosing to drive while distracted is choosing to be negligent, which could result in serious injuries, loss of life, and expensive property damages.
Drowsy Driving – Driver fatigue, also known as drowsy driving, is another common cause of automobile accidents. Drowsy driving accounts for more than 100,000 accidents in the U.S. every year. Like distracted driving, drowsy driving is negligent and should be avoided. Individuals who must drive during the overnight hours should take regularly scheduled breaks, be willing to pull over to nap, never consume alcohol, and share the driving responsibility with another driver.
Impaired Driving – Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is one of the most commonly injurious or fatal causes of automobile accidents in the U.S. In fact, estimates indicate that tens of thousands of individuals die in the U.S. every year in automobile accidents caused by impairment. West Virginia motorists should avoid operating a vehicle after even one drink of alcohol, or one dose of a medication that may cause drowsiness.
Speeding – In today’s fast-paced society, speeding is a common occurrence. Unfortunately, speeding is not only dangerous in and of itself; it also contributes to the possibility that a collision or crash will be more catastrophic.
Aggressive Driving – Aggressive driving, also known as “road rage,” is another common cause of automobile accidents. Aggressive driving includes numerous behaviors including tailgating, verbal or physical assaults, deliberately creating challenges for other drivers, failing to yield to right of way or traffic signals, and others.
Weather Conditions – While weather conditions are not on their own negligent, West Virginia motorists are tasked with upholding the law and driving in a way that is appropriate for conditions. Motorists driving in rain, ice, snow, or fog should be cautious, slow down, and be aware of their surroundings.