Each year 1.3 million people die on average from road accidents in the United States, and another 50 million suffer serious injuries that in many cases affect their lives and their families forever, according to the World Health Organization.
In order to help avoid a tragedy, it is important to know what are the most common causes of this type of accident, and to recognize if we are unnecessarily exposing ourselves to a misfortune. In this post we will talk about the most recurrent reasons.
Use of cell phones
The cell phone quickly went from being an advantage to becoming a necessity. Thanks to mobile phones, we are in contact with our phones at all times, even with family abroad, thanks to applications such as WhatsApp and Skype.
However, when we use the cell phone while we are at the wheel, we are putting our lives and those of the passengers in serious danger. Text messages, Facebook and Twitter alerts ,online games such as Pokemon Go … all these things distract us and prevent us from concentrating our mind on the main task: getting home safely.
Sometimes the phone becomes addictive, and it is difficult to disconnect. In a previous post we suggest some strategies to avoid distracting with the phone that could be of great help.
In the United States, all roads, streets, avenues and roads have speed limits. Exceeding these limits is the most common traffic infraction and many times we do not take into account the serious risks involved.
When driving at excessive speed, we are not only increasing the chances of a collision, but we reduce the time available to react and avoid a collision after a dangerous maneuver by another driver. And if a crash occurs, the severity of the damage increases dramatically.
It is no surprise, then, that the statistics tell us that you are more likely to be victims of an accident for speeding than to be victims of a crime. A driver is 6 times more likely to be injured when the speed limit is exceeded. At the same time, to go or not in excess of speed is a decision that concerns 100% to the driver. It is in our hands to avoid a tragedy.
Drunkenness or use of illegal substances
Last year about 10,000 people died in the United States due to drivers who were drunk or under the influence of drugs. Driving under those conditions increases by 900% the chances that you will suffer an accident and ruin your life forever.
Thanks to the intensive information and awareness campaigns, the incidence of this type of accidents has been considerably reduced by almost 52%, and by 24% in terms of fatalities. Even so, these accidents still occur and it is possible to avoid them. If you have consumed alcohol, even if you feel you can handle it, better leave your keys to someone who has not. Better safe than sorry.
A long day at work or with children, or a night of insomnia or partying severely affect our reflexes and ability to concentrate on the slopes. In more serious cases, many drivers even fall asleep while behind the wheel, which is about 3% of traffic accidents with fatal outcome in the United States.
Apart from the danger of death, falling asleep at the wheel is a serious infraction, and if it happens more than once, you could be subject to criminal charges. Therefore, better think twice before driving excessively tired. Think of yours!
Besides the use of cell phones, there are many other things that can divert our attention when we should concentrate on the steering wheel. Many people in this country, for example, tend to eat or smoke while driving. Also hear loud music, or change stations on the dial when our eyes should be on the road.
There are people who also talk with passengers and even look at the co-pilot while they do it, which prevents us from focusing on the most important. All these bad habits have caused many accidents and we must be aware to avoid situations that we regret.
Defects in the operation of auto parts can cause serious accidents and injuries. Some of these defects come from the factory, as we have already seen in the case of Takata airbags. Other times, it is through carelessness of the owner of the car: tires in poor condition, brakes worn, direction diverted, among other things.
In general, it is advisable to take the car for a maintenance or technical check every 3 thousand miles. Apart from routine care, such as oil change, a trusted technician will alert you to any technical failure of your car that could put your own in danger.
Defects on the track
Sometimes, the reason for an accident has nothing to do with the driver but with the road. Many tracks and roads have maintenance problems such as holes, design faults or signaling errors that confuse us and put us in danger.
If you suffer an accident due to problems on the road, it is possible to claim for damages to the city or the contractor and recover with the help of a lawyer what you lost for the damages.
Many accidents occur due to unfavorable weather conditions. Rain and snow can create slippery surfaces. The hurricane winds can make us lose control of the vehicle. It is therefore advisable not to go to the tracks when the weather does not help, and if it is inevitable to take the car to the streets, we must take special care.
When driving in a difficult climate, it is advisable to reduce speed. Also keep a greater distance from the other vehicles, in case it is necessary to brake emergency. And in general, we should stay 100% focused on the wheel.
Works on the tracks
When repairing or renovating runways, the law requires the placement of cones or other signals necessary for drivers to know about the danger. Unfortunately, there are times when contractors, whether due to carelessness, neglect or negligence, do not comply with this important obligation, causing accidents.
If you suffer a car accident due to an unmarked work on the runway, you could file a legal claim to the city and demand compensation for damages.