No one ever plans to get into a car accident. That’s why they’re called accidents.

Statistics show that 6 million car accidents occur in the United States every year. And of those accidents, 3 million people sustain injuries. The sad part is, the majority of these accidents are preventable. Sure, some may be completely out of the driver’s control. But if you stay alert on the road and exercise due caution, your risk of getting in an accident goes way down.

To help keep you on your toes, be wary of these 5 common causes of accidents the next time you get behind the wheel.

5. Bad Weather

Bad weather is an inevitability in many cases. After all, you can’t exactly turn the rain off on the day of your scheduled road trip.

To stay safe, stick to a slower speed to keep control on slippery roads, and avoid sharp turns to prevent hydroplaning.

4. Tailgating

Not only is tailgating one of the most common causes of road rage, it puts you at immense risk on even the best travel days. If the driver in front of you needs to make a sharp stop for any reason, tailgating practically ensures you won’t have the reaction time necessary to avoid rear-ending them. In the vast majority of cases, insurance companies will view the accident as your fault.

The conventional rule of thumb is to add one car length of distance between you and the car in front of you for every 10 MPH you’re traveling. In other words, if you’re traveling 60 MPH, keep a distance of 6 car lengths. It sounds like a lot, but it’ll also keep you safe.

3. Drunk or Impaired Driving

Let’s not mince words: drunk driving is as dangerous as they say it is. It’s estimated that 29 people in the United States die from a drunk driving accident per day. Even if you’ve managed to drive drunk in the past, you’re still putting you and everyone else on the road in immense danger every time you’re behind the wheel.

It’s not just drunk driving either. Prescription medications or any other drugs can also impact how you drive. Even driving while sleepy is equivalent to drunk driving. In short, if you don’t feel alert for any reason, don’t get behind the wheel.

2. Speeding

31% of all fatal accidents are caused by speeding. It may be tempting to take speed limit signs with a grain of salt, but those signs are actually there to keep you safe. Not only that, but the average vehicle’s gas efficiency actually goes down when you’re driving at high speeds. So even if you save a few minutes by traveling too fast, it’s going to cost you a lot more money in the end, and potentially even your life.

1. Distracted Driving

If you’ve ever wondered why you see so many advertisements warning about texting and driving, well, here it is: A staggering 68% of accidents are caused by distracted driving. Whether it’s texting, fiddling with your music, or eating a cheeseburger, anything that keeps your eyes off the road puts you in danger. According to the NHTSA, taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds at 55 MPH is “like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

The moral of the story is this: stay alert when you’re on the road. If you’re having a hard time managing your music or your GPS while you drive regardless, well, these are all things that are practically automated in modern vehicles. Not only are newer cars optimized to help keep your eyes on the road, they’re also equipped with state-of-the-art safety features that can keep you safe in any accident.

If you’d like to learn more, give me a call or send me a message to continue the conversation.