You’re going to get into a car accident. It might not happen today, or tomorrow, or even next year, but according to car accidents statistics compiled by the insurance industry, average drivers file car accidents claims once every 17.9 years. This means that if you started driving at age 16, you’re almost guaranteed to be in at least one accident by the time you turn 34.
As terrifying as that is, it gets worse. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average 10 million bad car accidents aren’t even reported each year in the United States, skewing the statistics — which means that that inevitable accident may come even sooner.
Plus, bad car accidents are on the rise. From 2011 to 2012, the amount of bad car accidents in the U.S. increased by 3.3%. In 2012, there were about 5,419,000 police-reported motor vehicle accidents — a truly staggering amount.
If you’d like to avoid the “inevitable,” then avoid the three most common causes of car accidents, which are as follows.
3. Driving Under the Influence
Naturally, driving under the influence is one of the most common ways people cause bad car accidents. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there are some 300,000 incidents of drunk driving every day. While under the influence, a person’s ability to react to changing circumstances on the road is impaired. The key to avoiding this is simple — don’t drink and drive. If you see someone on the road who appears to be intoxicated, it’s best to pass them or avoid them.
Speeding is dangerous for a similar reason that drunk driving is. When a person drives fast, their reaction time is reduced. When they don’t have enough time to react, they’re more likely to get into bad car accidents. It’s that simple. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, speeding contributes to about one third of all car accidents in the United States. So just slow down, even if it means being a little late.
1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is the single most common cause of bad car accidents, if you can believe it. Eating, talking on the phone, and putting on makeup are all forms of distracted driving. However, the most dangerous distraction is texting, as it makes a person 23 times more likely to get into bad car accidents. Again, the answer is clear: put everything on hold while you drive.
Although the insurance industry’s auto accidents statistics make it seem like a crash is inevitable, you can defy the odds by being a safe driver. If you have any questions about avoiding the most common ways people get into bad car accidents, feel free to ask in the comments.