More than nine out of ten car accidents are due to human error in the US. Globally, nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. While these figures are breathtaking, it's also empowering. There are a lot of things drivers can do to not become a terrible statistic.
Here are the most common causes of car accidents in the US. Each and every one is entirely preventable or has things that drivers can do to mitigate their risks of causing a car wreck. It all boils down to defensive driving techniques.
1. Distracted Driving
I hope this one surprises no one. Cell phones are ubiquitous and extremely dangerous when used by drivers. Distractions are not limited to using phones, either, as the new Washington state law defines. It is so simple to avoid distractions and focus on the road, but here are some creative tips from a high school student here in Bellingham on how to avoid distracted driving.
2. Drunk Driving
Drinking is an indelible part of our culture, and so are DUIs. It is legal nowhere to drive drunk. Now that it's the holidays, more drunk drivers are on the roads than usual, but it doesn't mean that you must be too. There are many ways to enjoy the holidays without risking your life or others' lives.
Driving higher than the posted limit is the second top cause of car accidents. And it doesn't get you there any faster! Instead of feeling the need to rush, take a deep breath, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and avoid a ticket all at once.
4. Reckless Driving
This is a serious traffic offense. If you're caught driving recklessly, is it worth paying a potential $5,000 bill? Not to mention it's exceedingly dangerous. Changing lanes too fast, excessive speeding, or aggressive driving are some reckless driving behaviors. All are avoidable, and illegal.
Here's the first thing on this list that isn't altogether avoidable. We live in Bellingham, Washington, where it rains a lot. Every driver will drive on wet roads here. But there are ways to drive defensively even in the rain.
6. Running Red Lights
Red always means stop. Yellow doesn't mean go faster. It's not worth taking a deadly risk just for a minute delay. Often red light running happens because someone is doing one of the other dangerous activities in this list, such as driving distracted, recklessly, or speeding. T-bone accidents are some of the most deadly. Avoid them by minding the lights and stop lights in our neighborhoods and streets.
7. Night Driving
This one's also hard to avoid. In the dark, especially on Whatcom County roads, drivers can only see by the light of their headlights. While driving at night, be extra vigilant for hazards, drive the speed limit or slower in adverse weather conditions, and never drive drunk or distracted.
Tune into our next post for the next eight tips!