Can you avoid that crash?
Car crashes happen every day. To help avoid being involved in one, it is important for us to understand some of the common causes of accidents that are within our control and avoid them. Below are 5 of them.
- Being distracted
Distracted driving has been the leading cause of car accidents over the last decade. Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time in our cars, and that may lead us to try to multitask instead of focusing on our most important job when we are behind the wheel. We may think we need to make that last-minute phone call, send that crucial text, squeeze in a bite before that meeting, quickly read through our presentation, touch up our make-up, or any number of other things that, in reality, can wait. Will we really care if our make-up is perfectly applied as we’re being rushed into the emergency room?
While distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents, speeding is the second. Nearly one-third of all car accidents can be attributed to speeding. The faster a car travels, the less time the driver has to react. And since impacts are higher at higher speeds, personal injuries are too. And it’s not excessive speed that is a problem. Even exceeding the speed limit by as little as 5 mph in the wrong place can be disastrous. If you think speeding really makes a difference in in getting you where you want to go, think about the times you have raced around cars on the freeway only to end up right next to them while waiting at a stoplight once you’ve exited to the service road. National, state, and local governments have determined the maximum speeds allowable on the roadways to keep us safe. If we all followed them, we would dramatically reduce the number of accidents.
- Following Too Closely
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 29% of car accidents are the result of one car plowing into the back of another car. A high percentage of drivers follow the car in front of them much too closely in a hurry to get where they are going. But did you know that studies show we only save approximately 26 seconds per day by rushing in this way? How much of a savings will those 26 seconds be when we have to deal with a car accident? And fender-benders aren’t always as minor as they sound. Whiplash can happen at speeds as low as 5 miles per hour. It’s crucial that we keep a safe distance between our cars and the cars in front of us at all times.
- Making slop-stops and running red lights
We all do it. The light is yellow and about to turn red, so we speed up to get through the intersection. If the light turns red before we make it through, we may get a ticket—a ticket to the emergency room! More people are injured—often seriously—in crashes involving red-light-running than in any other crash type, and deaths caused by red-light-running are increasing at more than three times the rate of increase for all other fatal crashes. Whether we’re trying to beat the light change or just not paying attention, running red lights can alter lives forever. And remember, a rolling right turn on a red light is against the law too and accounts for 6% of all pedestrian fatalities. So, let’s all make a commitment to really stop at those red lights.
- Driving while tired or under the influence
We all know that drunk driving is one of the most dangerous—and deadly—causes of accidents in the United States. But being under the influence of any mind-altering substance is equally dangerous. This includes all drugs—legal and illegal, prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Any drug that can cause drowsiness must be off-limits for all drivers. Period. But those who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol aren’t the only drivers who are dangerous to themselves and others. Drivers who are just drowsy are dangerous. Approximately 7% of all car crashes, and 21% of all fatal crashes, are caused by drowsy drivers. We need to treat drowsy driving like we do drunk driving. We are often not able to tell if we are too sleepy to drive. If there’s a chance that we could fall asleep—or if our mental acuity is the least bit diminished–we should not trust ourselves to judge whether we are ok to drive. If we trust and help one another, we may just save lives.
If we’re going to drive, we can’t completely eliminate all risk, but our actions can lessen our chances of being involved in an accident and help us to recover if we crash and are injured. If that happens, the choice of coming to Accident and Injury Chiropractic can make all the difference in the world because all we do is treat car accident injuries. Let us help you get back on the road—driving safely once again.