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Most Common Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them


ost drivers believe it will never happen to them. That is, until they find themselves, mind momentarily diverted, careening across the icy blacktop of a four-lane highway. Assuming the driver survives, his attitude about his invulnerability to car accidents is forever and permanently changed. 

The truth is, automobile accidents happen all the time. They are the number one killer of young people. Drivers under 20 years old constitute only 5% of drivers, yet they were involved in 13% of all accidents in recent years. The statistics are ghastly: 5,000 teenagers die in automobile accidents each year. In one year alone, drivers 19 years old and younger were involved in almost 3 million automobile accidents.

Of these accidents, alcohol is responsible for close to half of all teenage fatalities. Next is excessive speed ó in 25% of teen auto accidents, speeding was a major factor.

There are things you can do to avoid an accident. In fact, over 90% of automobile accidents could have been avoided if the driver was in the habit of following certain rules. Here are a few tips that may help you avoid what could be your next accident:

        Drivers should learn to drive defensively. If you assume that other drivers may be unskilled and incautious, then you will be more likely to be cautious when you are on the road.í

        DONíT DRINK AND DRIVE. Alcohol seriously impairs your motor functions, reaction time, decision-making skills, and judgement. This is true even if you have ONE DRINK. Appoint a designated driver when you know you will be out drinking, and take the keys away from any friends who have been drinking and intend to drive. An alcohol related automobile crash kills someone in the United States every thirty-minutes, and injures someone every two minutes. In 2001, 17,448 people died in alcohol-related automobile accidents. Thatís 41% of the yearís total traffic deaths!

        Pay attention! Donít eat while driving; donít turn around to quiet the kids; donít hunt around for another CD. Doing any of these activities while driving 3.000 pounds of steel at 60 miles per hour can be deadly. Distracted drivers often veer into the next lane or rear-end the car ahead. According to a survey, 57% of drivers are eating while on the road, 32% are reading or writing, and 17% are combing their hair or putting on makeup. People are putting a greater priority on maximizing their time instead of vehicle safety. The survey revealed that 75% of all drivers engage in activities that take their concentration away from the road, often resulting in accidents.

        Cell phone use while driving is our newest, and potentially most deadly driving danger. When you see a driver swerving from lane to lane, or speeding up and slowing down for no reason that you can discern, or flying through an intersection without so much as a glance, you may wonder ďwhat are they thinking!Ē if you pull ahead to get out of their way, you will see a cell phone attached to the drivers ear. Because a telephone conversation requires a certain amount of attention, driving while using your cell phone is particularly dangerous. Unfortunately, this often translates into deadly consequences.

        Learn how to drive in winter weather. Before setting out, clear ice and snow off your car windows, hood, and roof. Clean your lights ó dirty lights significantly reduce your carís illumination on the road. This means that you wonít be able to see as well, nor will other drivers be able to see you. Invest in good winter tires. They can mean as much as 50% better traction, which means 50% better handling and braking. It should be obvious that when you encounter blowing snow or whiteout conditions, YOU SHOULD SLOW DOWN. Make sure there is a lot of distance between you and the next car. Beware of hydroplaning when roads are wet. If conditions become too severe, get off the road and wait the storm out. Being late, after all, is better than being dead! 

        At intersections, make sure you look around carefully. Always proceed cautiously, and donít make assumptions about other drivers. This is called DRIVING DEFENSIVELY. 

        Maintain concentration ≠óAT ALL TIMES ó on your driving, other drivers, pedestrians, and driving conditions. 

        Leave at least a carís length of space between your car and the car in front of you.

        Take your car in for regular tune-ups. In particular, check the wiper fluid, brakes, and tires, and be sure to replace wiper blades when they become worn out.

        Dangerous roads, that is, road conditions that include ice, snow, fog and rain, demand slower speeds and greater caution.

        Excessive speed reduces reaction time and greatly increases impact and injuries in an accident. So, be sure to DRIVE AT A SAFE SPEED.

        Watch out for improper lane changes. Before you change lanes, check all your mirrors, and be sure to signal long before you change. Also, always watch out for other vehicles.

These tips may seem deceptively simple and standard information. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked, forgotten, or ignored. Driving may be fun, it may be necessary, but never forget ó it may also be dangerous. Be alert, pay attention, drive defensively. And donít forget to enjoy the ride!   



Also see:

Safety Issues for Cars & Drivers  

  How to Find a Good Attorney if You're Involved in an Accident - Don't miss out on these important tips.

How to Get Your Car Ready to Cruise into Summer -The winter has been tough on your car, but there is no better time to get it ready for summer!

Buckling Up for Two -Your baby's first ride is in your womb.  Tips to make sure she stays safe.

Driving Safely with Disabilities -People all across America are driving with disabilities requiring special modifications.



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