Causes of Car Accidents
Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life, and they can happen to anyone. Every year, more than 32,000 people are fatally injured in crashes on U.S. roadways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most wrecks are the result of driver error and thus are preventable. In order to prevent car accidents, it helps to learn more about why they occur.
Car Accidents Caused by Driver Error
Distracted driving has become an epidemic. The most common factor in distracted driving is the use of cell phones. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that at least a quarter of all car accidents involve drivers who were on their cell phones at the time of, or just before the crash. Moreover, it is not only texting and driving that is problematic—talking on the phone while driving can also be deadly.
Despite the popularity of the term “multitasking,” studies show that the human brain cannot do two things at the same time. Rather than focusing on two tasks simultaneously, the brain switches back and forth quickly between the two or more competing tasks.
Safety on the road is dependent upon a driver’s ability to perceive potential hazards, and then respond quickly and appropriately to avoid a crash. The whole trajectory of this process can occur in fractions of seconds. If a driver is engaged in a distracting activity, he or she is less likely to be able to perceive the hazard and formulate a response in time to avoid an accident. As drivers become increasingly dependent on their phones, these types of accidents are only going to become more common.
The NHTSA reports that close to half of all fatal car accidents involve alcohol. Other drugs such as marijuana, prescription pain medicine, opiates such as heroin and methadone, and other intoxicating substances (both over the counter, and illegal) are also commonly involved in fatal accidents. Although these types of accidents tend to occur more frequently in rural areas where cabs are not available, drunk driving car accidents can happen anywhere.
Driving while fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, or worse. Tired drivers are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel and miss traffic signs and red lights. Drowsy drivers have slower reaction times than alert drivers. Truck drivers frequently drive while fatigued, due to pressure to make more money or even just keep their jobs. The intense pressure that they face, combined with the large size of commercial vehicles, makes this a deadly combination.
When a driver is angry or upset, decision-making skills may be compromised. Changing lanes too quickly, speeding, tailgating, and cutting off other drivers can lead to serious accidents.
Speeding consistently ranks as one of the leading factors in both fatal and nonfatal car accidents. Research shows that teens and inexperienced drivers are more likely to speed than adult drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, male teen drivers are the worst offenders. Because teen drivers have not had time to develop the skill-set that adult drivers have, they are often not prepared to respond to hazards while driving at a high rate of speed.
Other Common Causes of Accidents
Failure to maintain a vehicle’s brake system or tires is a common cause of accidents. However, even the most meticulous vehicle owners can run into trouble if their car or truck is compromised by a design or manufacturing defect. Vehicle owners who have been informed of a recall should schedule an appointment to have it fixed as soon as possible.
- Poor Weather Conditions
Driving in snow, ice, fog, and rain (particularly when it first starts to rain and roads are most slick), can significantly increase the chances of a car accident. When a driver engages in any of the behaviors described above while the road conditions are poor, the risk of a crash increases exponentially.
South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden Pursue Compensation for Victims of Negligence
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the experienced South Carolina car accident lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden can help you obtain the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated and experienced car accident lawyers. Our offices are located in Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, Aiken, Florence, and Sumter, South Carolina.