Although car collisions can be accidental, they can also be avoided through proper vehicle maintenance, cautious driving, and careful maneuvering through the elements. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, there were 1.13 deaths per million vehicles traveled, the lowest fatality and injury rates ever recorded. The highway death toll of 30,797 also hit the lowest mark since 1950. However, drivers must continue to remain aware of their surroundings and use caution when taking the wheel to minimize the risk of an accident.
It is important to keep the vehicle up-to-date on all inspections and routine maintenance. If one side of the brakes fails to work, the other side will be unable to compensate and the vehicle will not stop. Tires need to remain inflated and rotated regularly. Uneven, improperly balanced, or worn-out tires also cause hazardous driving conditions, as do suspensions that are misaligned or broken. It’s also important to have the steering suspension checked by a mechanic. If the driver loses steering while behind the wheel, especially at high speeds, the collision could be disastrous.
Oftentimes, drivers feel too confident when taking the wheel and have not been properly trained in road safety. However, due to recent law regulations, more states are demanding better and safer requirements for new drivers. Extra classroom instruction, road tests, and a higher new-driver age are all being put into effect across the country.
Driving under the influence and intoxication are a serious cause of traffic collisions. Because of this, the law sets strict cut-offs for blood alcohol content. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is one death every 45 minutes as a result from a vehicle crash and an alcohol-impaired driver.
Motorists are also easily distracted. Guaranteed ways to risk a collision include active discussions with passengers, talking on a cellular phone while driving, changing the radio and playing overly loud music. Daring drivers even eat, apply make-up, or change clothes while inside the vehicle. According to the NHTSA, in 2009, 5,474 people died and 448,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Aggressive driving and speeding are two other factors that contribute to car accidents. Tailgating, flashing high beams, rude gestures, and even assault are signs of an aggressive driver. Those who speed observe the speed limit signs, know the risk and the consequences, yet continue to do it anyway. The United States Bureau of Transportation Statics reports that in 2008, the greatest number of motor vehicle accidents occurred at a speed of 55 miles per hour, with 9,794 deaths.
Weather is a severe factor when traveling in a car. Extreme sunlight, wind, rain, snow, and ice all make for a dangerous drive. Although bright sunlight causes blindness while driving, drivers do not consider the sun to be a hazard. Wind can cause a power line to fall, or debris to fly around or into your car. The NHTSA reports that in 2008, 30,167 accidents happened in normal weather conditions. However, the next highest crash report was 2,442 accidents which occurred in rain. Rain causes visual impairment if the vehicle does not have working windshield wipers, and it can cause sleek, slippery roads and flooding.
Even if the driver is traveling slowly and carefully through the snow, there is still a risk of an accident as there is no guarantee that an oncoming car will not slide and hit him. Drivers should always check the inflation of the tires and tread, keep a full tank of gas, and make sure that the windshield wipers work properly.
Drivers must also keep in mind that while roads must be maintained regularly, oftentimes they are not. Potholes and severely weathered roads make for not only a bumpy drive, but they also contribute to accidents. Traffic control devices such as signals and signs, crossings, and turning lanes all must be observed and followed carefully to avoid collisions.…