Although fewer people are on the road during the coronavirus pandemic due to social distancing and other quarantine measures, car accidents can still happen. Many people still have to commute to work; others get behind the wheel to pick up essentials like groceries and medicine. Our Oneonta car accident attorneys describe the most common causes of car accidents so you can better prevent them.
What Causes Car Accidents?
The most common cause of car accidents is human error. This is why you should always drive defensively, especially during this time of heightened anxiety. Don’t let your guard down just because there are fewer cars on the road—open roads encourage speeding, which kills nearly 10,000 people every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
More specifically, the leading causes of car accidents in the United States are:
- Distracted driving: This is the number one cause of car accidents. Especially in the age of cell phones, navigation systems, and other readily accessible distractions, distracted driving is exceedingly dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in distracted driving accidents daily. Take care of all your important calls and finish eating and putting on makeup before getting in your car to avoid temptation.
- Speeding: Speeding is the second most common cause of car accidents nationwide. Faster speeds equal slower reaction times. Drivers on rural roads tend to speed more than those in urban areas, so drive extra cautiously on deserted roads.
- Drunk driving: DUIs are another leading cause of accidents in the U.S. In most states, it’s illegal to have roughly 3 to 4 drinks or more before driving. Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are great alternative options for getting home after a night at the bar.
- Reckless driving: This can include speeding as well as other behaviors such as changing lanes without signaling, running a red light, and tailgating. Keep a wide birth when around such drivers.
- Poor weather conditions: Dense fog, heavy rain, high winds, and icy roads are extremely dangerous, especially if you are not used to driving in such conditions. If you ever feel unsafe or unconfident driving in bad weather, pull over and wait it out if you can, use public transit, or stay indoors.
How to Protect Yourself
Always drive defensively and attentively but remember that even if you are a careful driver, you may be sharing the road with individuals who aren’t. Maintain a speed similar to other cars on the road and a wide following distance behind vehicles in front of you. If you have to take a call, send a text message, or change your GPS settings, pull over to do so.
If you do get into a car accident, there are certain steps you should follow to ensure your health is taken care of as well as your potential personal injury case. Call an attorney at Scarzafava, Basdekis & Dadey, PLLC for legal advice and to help you file a car accident lawsuit.