Each year in the United States, thousands of people are killed and many more are injured in motor vehicle collisions. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 37,461 people were killed in collisions in 2016, and 3,144,000 people were injured. In 2014, which is the year for which crash data is most recently available in Missouri, the Missouri Highway Patrol reports that 766 people were killed and 47,977 were injured in traffic crashes on the state’s roadways. Understanding the top causes of car accidents may help motorists avoid making mistakes that could lead to collisions. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a car accident, the experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave may be able to help you recover compensation for your losses.
Why Knowing the Top Causes of Car Accidents Is Important
The majority of collisions that occur are preventable, according to the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University. It reports that 90 percent of motor vehicle collisions result from human errors. While collisions may be caused by many different factors, certain actions and situations are likelier to result in collisions. It is important for drivers to be mindful of the top causes of car accidents so that they can avoid them. People who are seriously injured in car crashes and the families of people who are killed because of the negligent actions of other drivers may have recovery rights.
What Are the Top Causes of Car Accidents?
Unfortunately, drivers regularly engage in different driving behaviors that can increase the likelihood of a car crash. While many different factors can contribute to accidents, it is possible to understand some of the mistakes that drivers should avoid by reviewing the crash data from the Missouri Department of Transportation. According to MODOT, crashes in which drivers simply ran off of the roadway injured and killed more people than other types of crashes in 2014. A number of different factors can lead to run-off accidents, including the following:
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Excessive speeding
- Drunk driving
- Steering failures and blown tires
- Driving too fast for the conditions
These factors are also frequent causes of other car crashes. For example, distracted driving and drunk driving are leading causes of head-on collisions. The second leading cause of injury and fatality accidents on the state’s list was car occupants who were unrestrained. When accidents happen, failing to wear safety belts makes it likely that the car occupants will be thrown around inside of the vehicles or ejected from them. Horizontal curves were also listed as a top cause in Missouri of injury and fatality crashes. These types of accidents frequently result from drivers who take these curves while driving too fast. Many of the other top causes of car accidents are preventable, including the following:
- Aggressive driving
- Unlicensed drivers
- Inattentive driving
- Drunk driving
- Driving too fast for weather or traffic conditions
- Failing to stop for school bus signs
- Failing to obey traffic control devices at intersections
A quick review of the state’s list reveals that most of the listed causes are carelessness or negligence. By avoiding these and other problematic driving behaviors, people can help to reduce the risk of being involved in a car crash.
Tips to Avoid Motor Vehicle Crashes
While it is not possible to avoid all of the risks of motor vehicle accidents, drivers can take steps to avoid most collisions and certainly to minimize their own risks as well as those of their loved ones. Drivers should make certain that they always follow the posted speed limits while driving. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, excessive speed is the most common factor in fatality crashes. When the weather dictates, a driver should drive slower than the speed limit and reduce their speed according to the circumstances on the roadway.
Drivers should refrain from engaging in distracting activities while they drive. The safest way to drive is to turn your cell phone off while driving so that there is no temptation to check incoming calls or messages while behind the wheel. Drivers should avoid placing calls or answering messages even if they have hands-free smartphones. While many people think that using a hands-free phone is safer than a hand-held device, a study by researchers at the University of Queensland found that hands-free systems are equally distracting. While it might be legal for people to use hands-free systems while they drive, it is best to avoid cell phones altogether while driving. Other activities that are distracting include such things as the infotainment systems that are present in many vehicles. People should avoid adjusting knobs, searching for music, or checking GPS coordinates while they are driving. If possible, have a passenger use those devices.
Finally, drivers should never get behind the wheel after they have been drinking. Be aware that some prescription medications and drugs can impair your ability to drive as well. Driving after using illegal drugs or drugs that cause drowsiness should be avoided at all times.
Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave Today
Being seriously injured or losing a loved one in a car crash can be devastating. If you have suffered such losses in an accident because of the negligent or reckless driving behaviors of others, you may have legal rights. Schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave for an evaluation of your potential claim.