Auto collisions are unfortunately a common occurrence – the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported nearly 80,000 traffic accidents in 2016.1 What’s more, 93 percent of crashes can be attributed to human error, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).2 Here are the top causes for auto collisions and how to prevent them so we can all enjoy safer roadways.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in auto collisions involving a distracted driver each day nationwide. Distracted driving is broken down into three categories:
Sending text messages, eating and talking on the phone are examples of dangerous distractions that plague the roadways.3
Laws Against Distracted Driving
Many states, including Minnesota, have enacted laws to prevent drivers from using their cell phones while operating a vehicle.4 Drivers can do their part by being prepared with directions, pulling over to make a call, choosing a radio station before driving and never driving when drowsy.
Driving Under the Influence
The CDC estimates 28 percent of traffic fatalities in the U.S. involve drunk driving, and drugs are involved in 16 percent of auto collisions. It only takes a couple drinks to seriously impair your coordination, eyesight, concentration and other crucial cognitive and physical abilities you need to drive safely.5
Preventing DUI Crashes
Always call a cab or ride sharing service or find a sober ride home if you have been drinking or using drugs. Designate a driver if you are with a group and never allow friends to drive under the influence.
Speeding is one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in the country. Young drivers are especially susceptible – people ages 15 to 34 accounted for twice as many fatalities as those 45 and older in 2012. Speeding increases the chance of losing control of your vehicle, decreases effectiveness of safety equipment and reduces driver reaction time.6
Preventing Speeding Collisions
Drivers are encouraged to use caution when traveling near speeding motorists, move to the right if someone is trying to pass and call the police on overly aggressive drivers. Even if you are running late, stay within the legal speed limit.
Reckless driving includes a variety of dangerous habits, such as speeding, weaving, tailgating and aggressive driving. Since it is an umbrella term, it is more difficult to quantify its impact. Though, experts agree these habits are very dangerous for drivers and the people they share the road with.7 Prevent reckless driving by staying calm, patient and never engaging in “road rage.”
Weather-related accidents account for 22 percent of all collisions. Though drivers cannot help when the roads are wet, they can do their part by being more cautious and using the proper equipment in treacherous conditions. This includes:8
- Driving slow on wet roads
- Using headlights during rainstorms
- Pulling over when visibility is low
- Using tire chains on snowy roads
Running Red Lights
We have all been taught from a young age that “red means stop.” Unfortunately, red light-running is still a leading cause of traffic fatalities in the U.S. – resulting in more than 800 deaths in 2016.9 It can be easy to blow through red lights when hurrying to and from work or school, but drivers are encouraged to be patient and stay safe.10
Driving at Night
A combination of poor visibility, more impaired drivers, fatigue and rush hour make night driving much more dangerous than driving during the day. In fact, it is estimated that you are three times more likely to get in a collision at night.11
Many drivers cannot avoid driving after dark. But you can contribute to safer roads by never driving drunk or fatigued, using your headlights and taking extra precautions once the sun goes down.
Collision Repair in the Twin Cities
Doing your part to prevent auto accidents is the best thing you can to do minimize the chances of being injured on the road. However, as statistics show, some crashes are uncontrollable. If you are involved in an auto accident, you can trust Collision Center to get your vehicle back in tip-top shape. We take pride in providing a customer-centric experience – come see for yourself! Call (763) 541-9727 or contact us online today.