According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were more than 33,000 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2019. This resulted in more than 36,000 deaths. There are more than six million car crashes in total in the US each year, with a variety of causes and injuries sustained.
What are the main causes of car accidents in the US? In this blog post, we will look at causes such as speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving, highlighting how prevalent they are in causing dangerous road traffic accidents in the US.
1. Drunk Driving
Drinking alcohol impairs our ability to focus and function properly. When this is paired with driving a vehicle, it becomes incredibly dangerous.
As per the IIHS, a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was reported for almost two-thirds of fatally injured drivers in 2019. This figure was highest in Hawaii, where 29 of the 31 drivers killed had a BAC (94%).
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Speeding continues to be a leading cause of road traffic accidents, deaths, and injuries. By speeding, drivers have less time to react in a dangerous situation. In 2019, speeding was a factor in 26% of road traffic deaths in the US.
Speeding is most dangerous on roads with ice, frost, mud, dirt, or gravel. Some 43% of fatal crashes on roads with ice or frost in 2019 were linked to excessive speeding.
3. Distracted Driving
Talking on your cell phone, eating food, applying makeup, or reaching for a moving object inside a vehicle are all common examples of driver distractions. Distracted driving is a major cause of car crashes and fatal accidents.
Distracted drivers are not just a danger to other motorists. In 2018, 20% of people who died in crashes involved distracted drivers were not in vehicles, with many simply walking along the street or road or riding their bikes.
4. Inclement Weather
As we have already noted with speeding, inclement weather increases the likelihood that we will be involved in a car crash. Rain or ice, for example, can make roads slick, resulting in reduced braking effectiveness and a higher likelihood of spinning out of control. Other weather conditions, such as fog, can significantly reduce visibility and the probability of car crashes.
5. Inexperienced Drivers
Young and inexperienced drivers who are nervous on the road or unsure of driving laws are another common cause of car crashes. Teenagers or new drivers with less experience of handling a vehicle often struggle to cope in difficult driving conditions, such as during inclement weather or heavy traffic.
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The Leading Causes of Car Accidents
Each year, thousands of preventable deaths occur on our roads. The causes of car accidents are many, but it only takes small changes to reduce their prevalence. Driving more slowly (especially in inclement weather), paying greater attention, and avoiding any alcohol before driving are some of the ways to reduce your likelihood of being involved in a car accident.
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