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6 most common causes of road accidents

Road accidents are becoming more common than ever as streets are getting busier and busier every year. This article explores the six most common causes of road accidents and a few tips to minimize risks while behind the wheel.

Road accidents are terrible news, whether they result in deaths or severe to mild injuries. Being involved in a car accident is something that many people fear because the results can be life-threatening, painful, and even lead to a legal car accident claim.

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Yet, car accidents happen all the time. WHO data shows that approximately 1.3 million people die annually due to road traffic crashes. This means that almost 3,700 people lose their lives in crashes involving all sorts of vehicles, from cars to busses, motorcycles, bicycles, or trucks. But drivers aren’t the only ones at risk while they are behind the wheel. Data shows that more than half of all road traffic deaths occur among vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

We know what you may be thinking, “it will never happen to me.” But you can’t actually predict that, can you? Road accidents can affect all road users equally, and they often happen when you expect them the least.

Here are the six common causes of road accidents and a few recommendations on how to minimize risks when you’re behind the wheel.

1.     Overspeeding

Some of the fatal road crashes occur as a result of overspeeding. As streets are getting busier and people more frustrated about spending dozens of minutes in traffic jams, they tend to speed up to reach their destinations faster, often ignoring the risk they expose themselves and other road users to.

An increase in speed multiplies the risk of being involved in an accident and even the severity of the injuries that occur in an accident. Faster cars are more prone to crash than slower ones as the vehicles need a greater distance to stop. Plus, with a car moving at high speed, the impact during a collision is greater, leading to more severe injuries suffered by the car’s occupants.

Over speeding also impacts the ability to judge forthcoming events, such as another car turning left or right, stopping, or a pedestrian crossing the road. This causes errors in judgment and, finally, a crash.

The best way to avoid car accidents caused by overspeeding is to make sure that you respect the legal speed limit in the area you are driving through. By obeying traffic rules, you increase your chances of avoiding a traffic accident.

2.     Distracted driving

Even minor distractions such as listening to music or talking to the passenger next to you can cause you to be less attentive to what is happening on the road.

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Distracted driving is basically the term for when a driver has their attention distracted from what is happening on the road, including a pedestrian crossing the street, another car making a turn, or the car in front of them stopping at a red light.

The common distractions that can interfere with a driver’s focus on the road include:

  • Adjusting the mirrors while driving
  • Listening to music while driving and adjusting the volume
  • Looking at animals on the road
  • Banners and billboards
  • Conversations with other passengers
  • Using the smartphone or other device

Drivers should remain focused on the road, no matter what is happening around them. When you are distracted while driving, you can reduce speed or increase it without even realizing it. You may also not be able to respond quickly to avoid a crash or an accident.

3.     Drunken driving

Drunken driving is a serious issue that is both extremely dangerous and illegal to start with. When mixed with driving, alcohol can reduce concentration, making the brain need more time to process information and judge correctly how to react next. Alcohol also hampers vision, causing dizziness in drivers, which, again, makes driving more dangerous. Besides all that, alcohol also dampens fear and incites humans, making them more prone to take risks like overspeeding, taking dangerous turns, or overpassing other vehicles.

It is obvious how to avoid putting yourself at risk: don’t drink and drive. Even if you need to get somewhere after you’ve consumed alcohol, don’t get behind the wheel. Use a public transport option, like a taxi, bus, metro, or ask a sober friend/ family member to drive you where you need to get.

4.     Inclement weather

Sometimes, accidents are caused by external factors that drivers have very little control over in poor weather conditions, like rain or snow.

Water creates slick roadways, making the vehicles slip and slide without any warning and leaving drivers with very few options to stop it. Poor weather conditions also affect drivers’ vision of what is happening on the road. Heavy rain, for example, may make it twice as hard for a driver to see a pedestrian’s intentions of crossing the road. Or, they might not be able to see that the vehicle in front of them is stopping.

The best way to minimize risks when driving on a snowy or rainy day is to have your car equipped adequately for poor weather conditions and to drive extra carefully (drive slower, pay extra attention to the road, avoid distractions, or even avoid drives at all if possible).

5.     Red light jumping

Red light jumping is another common phenomenon happening on the streets. As drivers are in a hurry to reach their destinations, they don’t respect the red light and practice red light jumping to save time. However, there are studies that have proven that if all drivers respected traffic signals correctly, all drivers would save time and reach their destinations safely.

A red light jumper puts themselves in danger and other road users, especially since they often cross the intersection with greater speed to avoid crashes. Make sure to respect traffic signals, even if it may feel like you’re wasting a few minutes waiting for a green light.

6.     Bad car maintenance practices

Bad car maintenance practices also lead to crashes and accidents on the road. A damaged vehicle may behave contrary to what its driver is telling it to do. It may not stop, for example, if the car’s braking system isn’t working correctly, affecting other road users as well.

Properly maintaining your vehicle and ensuring that it is functioning correctly every time you get behind the wheel is a great way to minimize your risks while on the road.

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Ifiokobong Ibanga

Ifiokobong Ibanga is the founder of InfoGuideNIgeria.com. You can get in touch with him on Instagram @ifiokobong. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly send a message. Much Love!

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