Auto accidents are a common and devastating occurrence that can cause serious injuries and even death. However, there are ways to reduce the risk.
Some auto accidents can’t be avoided. So always drive prepared.
1) Wear a seatbelt: Wearing a seatbelt is the single most effective way to protect yourself in a crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seatbelts saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2019.
2) Avoid distractions: Distracted driving is a major cause of auto accidents. Avoid texting, talking on the phone, eating, or other activities that take your attention away from the road.
3) Observe speed limits: Excessive speed is a major contributor to accidents and the severity of injuries. Observing speed limits can reduce the risk of a crash and the severity of injuries in the event of a collision.
4) Maintain your vehicle: Regular maintenance of your vehicle, such as checking the brakes and tires, can reduce the risk of an accident caused by a mechanical failure.
5) Stay alert: Drowsy driving can impair your ability to react to road conditions and increase the risk of an accident. If you feel tired, pull over and take a nap or switch drivers.
6) Avoid alcohol and drugs: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and increases the risk of an accident. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver or use public transportation.
7) Properly use child safety seats: Children are among the most vulnerable road users and proper use of a child safety seat can reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash.
8) Give yourself space: Maintaining a safe following distance can give you time to react to changes in traffic or road conditions and reduce the risk of a rear-end collision.
9) Anticipate other drivers’ actions: Stay alert for other drivers who may be acting erratically or making sudden lane changes. By anticipating their actions, you can take evasive action to avoid a collision.
10) Avoid aggressive driving: Road rage and aggressive driving are major causes of accidents. Avoid tailgating, cutting off other drivers, and other behaviors that can increase the risk of a collision.
8 Startling auto accident statistics
The following statistics paint a bleak picture of the state of road safety and should serve as a wake-up call for everyone to be more careful when driving:
1. Over 1.3 million people die in road accidents annually, with an average of 3,700 deaths per day. (Source: World Health Organization)
2. Nearly half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. (Source: World Health Organization)
3. In the United States alone, there are over 6 million car accidents each year, resulting in over 40,000 fatalities. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
4. Young drivers, particularly males, are at higher risk of being involved in a fatal crash. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
5. Alcohol-impaired driving is a major factor in fatal crashes, accounting for 29% of all road deaths globally. (Source: World Health Organization pdf)
6. Distracted driving, such as using a cell phone while behind the wheel, is also a leading cause of crashes and fatalities. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
7. Speeding is another major contributor to road accidents, with a third of all fatal crashes involving a vehicle traveling at excessive speed. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
8. Drowsy driving is also a significant risk, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimating that drowsiness and fatigue causes over 100,000 crashes and 1,500 deaths each year in the US. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
The above statistics should serve as a warning to everyone to be more cautious and responsible when driving. The dangers on the road are real and present, and everyone has a role to play in reducing the number of accidents and fatalities. So the next time you get behind the wheel, remember to stay alert, drive within the speed limit, avoid distractions, and never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2021). Seat Belt Use in 2019 – Overall Results. https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812384
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Impaired Driving: Get the Facts. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). (2021). Child Passenger Safety. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/child-passenger-safety.