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5 Causes of Accidents and How to Prevent Them

Although you should drive cautiously in general, you should also know what causes accidents so that you can avoid making life-threatening mistakes. Here are some of the top 5 causes of accidents and how to prevent them.

1. Riding someone’s bumper

When you drive too closely to someone else’s vehicle, you’re giving yourself less time to react should they stop suddenly. This can cause you to rear-end them and potentially cause the person behind you to rear-end you!

How to prevent an accident:

  • Keep your tires and breaks well-maintained so that, should you still have to stop suddenly, your car is able to respond accordingly.

2. Speeding

As most people know, speeding is unsafe and can cause accidents. When you are going faster than the speed limit, it is more difficult to make safe split-second decisions.

How to prevent an accident:

  • Go the speed limit.
  • If you’re not sure what the speed limit is, drive slower than you think you should until you see a speed limit sign.
  • Use your best judgment when you’re driving in bad weather: for example, if it’s raining, you should drive slower than the speed limit.

3. Distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the most preventable causes of accidents on the road and yet it’s the most common! When drivers try to multitask by navigating, texting, passing things to passengers, etc. they can’t focus and keep their eyes on the road. Driving requires a driver’s full attention.

How to prevent an accident:

  • Stay off your phone when you’re behind the wheel. Have a passenger navigate for you or plug in directions prior to getting on the road.
  • Use hands-free voice text or wait to text.
  • If you are driving, don’t put yourself in charge of passing out food or picking music. Have someone else handle anything that requires you to look away from the road.

4. Trying to “make it”

Trying to make a light, make a turn, make a pass—anytime you do something quickly because you’re unsure if you have enough time to do it, you endanger yourself, your passengers, and other vehicles.

How to prevent an accident:

  • Make calculated, thoughtful decisions.
  • Think ahead. Know your route so that you don’t have to make sudden lane changes in order to make a turn, exit, etc.
  • Don’t take risks. If you don’t think you’re going to be able to make a turn, don’t attempt it. If a light is yellow, don’t speed up and see if you can make it through before the light turns red.

5. Failure to use turn signal

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, about 2 million car accidents occur each year in the United States due to drivers’ failure to use their turn signal.

How to prevent an accident:

  • Understand the importance of using your blinker. It’s not optional, signaling is the law!
  • Use your turn signal whenever you are switching lanes, merging, or turning.
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