Every year in the U.S., many thousands of people die in vehicle accidents, several hundred of them in New Jersey, while those injured in car crashes number several million, according to Fortune magazine. Along with this tragic cost in lives comes a cost to society. A very real financial cost that in 2016 was $432 billion. This total accounts for property damage, medical expenses, administrative expenses and lost wages and productivity. Worse even than these costs is the knowledge that many accidents can be avoided.
Nobody will be surprised to learn that distracted driving is a top reason for car accidents, according to Huffington Post. The topic has increasingly been in the news over the last decade or so in-car and cell-phone technologies grow ever more popular. Distracted driving is about more than texting and talking on a smartphone, however. It covers just about anything that pulls your attention away from where it should be—on the road. Applying makeup, eating and operating car stereos and other, in-car entertainment are also distracted driving.
Driving after a drink or two remains near the top of the list of crash causes, as well as speeding and reckless driving. Reckless drivers are those who make sudden lane changes, speeding up and slamming on brakes as they weave in and out of traffic, trying to get ahead of fellow drivers. Tailgating and other types of aggressive behaviors are also included. In addition, there are several other less-well-known reasons for crashes, such as the following:
- Construction areas: Road construction zones are typically marked with cones, but these can be confusing, especially if there are several lanes of traffic to be shifted.
- Driver errors: Going the wrong way down a one-way street, running a red light and making turning at the wrong time in intersections are additional types of driving errors that cause accidents.
- Animal crossings: We know we shouldn’t but we still slam on the brakes or make sudden swerves to avoid animals, large and small, that come into our paths.
- Blown-out tires: A tire blowing while you’re driving can cause you to swerve and lose control. Results can be deadly if you are driving fast.
- Road conditions: Heavy rains, snow and ice, even damaged roadways can play a role in accidents if your car hydroplanes, skids on ice or you lose control.
Watching your speed limit, limiting distractions and using a car service after drinking are all actions you can take to avoid accidents. Staying safe may take a conscious effort on your part to adopt better driving habits.