Most of the time, people get in their cars and drive off without giving it much thought and go from point A to point B without much trouble. Sometimes, however, the journey is brought to an unexpected halt by a car accident. Occurring at an average rate of 6 million every year in the US alone, car accidents are unfortunately common. If we are to decrease their occurrence rate, we must understand what the cause of most car accidents is and what we can do about it.

The Most Common Cause

Car crash attorneys will tell you that there are many reasons why car accidents occur. Some of them, such as weather conditions, road conditions, or mechanical defects, aren’t factors that drivers have control over. The only thing drivers can do about weather and road conditions is to adjust their driving habits to reflect those conditions. Sometimes it’s enough. Sometimes it isn’t. 

Some factors that cause car accidents to occur are much easier for drivers to control. Driving under the influence, speeding, reckless driving behavior, and failing to heed traffic signals are all dangerous behaviors that cause accidents and are entirely under the driver’s control. However, the most common cause of car accidents, while entirely controllable, isn’t any of these. It’s distracted driving.

Driving Distractions

There are many sources of distractions for drivers. With all the demands on time these days, it can be tempting to try to multitask while you’re driving. Activities like eating, fixing hair, or putting on makeup are common distractions that lead to car accidents. Driving can be monotonous, and sometimes interesting scenery can be enticing enough to draw attention away from the road. Even something as simple as changing the radio or talking to a passenger can be enough of a distraction to cause an accident. Perhaps the most dangerous driving distraction, though, is using a phone.

The Cell Phone Problem

It’s hard to deny that smartphones are useful. They can be great for finding information and have all but eliminated the need to use physical maps. Handling them while driving, however, is not something you should ever do. Being distracted by cell phones is responsible for an estimated 1.6 million crashes annually. That’s a little over 25% of crashes every year. Part of the danger is in how long they take attention away from the road. If you’re looking at your phone, you aren’t paying as much attention to the road as you should be. Texting or surfing social media also significantly reduces your reaction time. With how fast cars drive, even a few moments can be enough to travel a significant difference, as any car accident law firm can tell you. As it turns out, you don’t even have to be looking at your phone to increase your risk of getting into an accident. Even just talking on the phone while you’re driving is enough to quadruple your risk of getting in an accident.

The Need for Solutions

Most drivers have heard a lot of these statistics before. Most will agree that distracted driving is a real problem that often sends victims to car accident lawyers for advice. Yet, the issues still prevail. It’s easy to think of car accidents as events that happen to other people, not you. It’s easy to think of yourself as the exception who can text without experiencing a reduced level of performance while driving. That sort of thinking is incredibly dangerous, however. If you engage in risky, distracting behaviors while driving, you put yourself and others at risk. You could easily cause an accident yourself or fail to take evasive action to avoid becoming a part of one. So what can be done to change the perspective that drivers have on such dangerous behaviors?

A Serious Situation

The first step in preventing distracted driving is realizing that it is a problem that applies to everyone, including yourself. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you take your life into your hands. It’s important to realize that you have a responsibility to yourself, your family, and everyone else on the road to drive as safely and responsibly as possible. When you understand that your life and the lives of other drivers are at stake, you may be less willing to engage in distracted driving behaviors.

Preventing Distracted Driving

There are multiple things you can do to reduce and prevent distracted driving. Plan your day so you don’t feel the need to perform any tasks aside from operating the vehicle while you drive. If you’re the passenger in a car, hold the driver accountable. By riding with them, you’re putting your life in their hands. Make sure they’re taking care of it by not driving while distracted. As a driver, be sure you’re setting a good example for others in your car. You can also learn about and support legislation that takes action against distracted driving.

As the most common reason for accidents, distracted driving is a real and pervasive problem on the road. All drivers have a responsibility to avoid such dangerous behavior. By doing your part to prevent distracted driving, you protect yourself and everyone else on the road. There is no guaranteed method to prevent all car accidents, but taking reasonable precautions will maximize your chance of safely arriving at your destination. If you’ve been injured in a car accident despite your best efforts, contact Lee Law Offices to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.