Each year in the US, there are six million traffic crashes and more than 40,000 traffic deaths. They continue to rise, too. Many of these deaths could be avoided by just following simple safety procedures while driving, such as wearing your seat belt, not driving drunk and not using your phone while driving. But traffic crashes also happen for other reasons. According to a survey by the US Department of Transportation, the following are the most common types of traffic crashes:
Fatigued driving and falling asleep behind the wheel leads to 7% of all car accidents, and 21% of all fatal accidents. It is very important for drivers to get enough sleep before they start driving. Most people need at least seven or eight hours of sleep per day to be able to drive safely. It is especially risky to drive at night when our bodies are used to being asleep. The hours of 12 am to 4 am are especially dangerous.
Losing Control of Vehicle
Loss of control causes 11% of all crashes. Remember to keep all of the variables of driving in mind, including other drivers, obstructions in the road and bad weather. Many drivers do not slow down for bad weather, but a wet or snowy road can make it dangerous to drive the speed limit. Even if you are going the speed limit in bad weather, it is still very easy to get in an accident. Remember that speed limits are set for ideal driving conditions; if conditions are less than ideal, slow down.
Blind Left Turns
Blind left turns account for 12% of all traffic crashes. How many times have you been trying to turn left and your vision is obstructed by a truck or bus? If you are not certain of what is coming behind that obstruction, do not try to complete the turn. Wait until your view is clear before turning.
Rear End Crashes
These account for 23% to 30% of all traffic crashes. Always pay close attention to the car in front of you. Do not drive too close; many drivers think they will get there faster by tailgating, but the fact is that tailgating might save you 20 or 30 seconds – per day. It is not worth risking a serious accident to save such a tiny amount of time. Watch for brake lights and always give yourself more room to stop in bad weather.
Failing to Stay in Your Lane
This accounts for about 30% of all traffic crashes. When you are driving your care, always focus on the road and the tasks of driving. Do not pay attention to your phone, others in the car, the radio or eating and drinking. All it takes is for you to take your attention from the road for one second to drift into another lane or even drive off the road and hit a stationary object.
Rolling Right on Red
This is a common cause of accidents that many are unaware of. As it is usually legal to make a right on red, many drivers roll through the turn and do not make a complete stop. They are looking to the left for oncoming traffic, and continuing to drive to the right. This is extremely dangerous, and it is common for a pedestrian or biker to assume (correctly) that you will come to a full stop. Many do not and a serious or fatal accident can occur.
Also, note that 36% of all accidents happen when drivers are turning or crossing at intersections. So, it is always important to watch for pedestrians and vehicles before you turn or go through the intersection.