Louisiana drivers are setting records for all the wrong reasons. According to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, there were 914 crashes and 997 deaths on public highways in 2021, a new record. The new record surpasses the previous one set in 2007 with 993 deaths. Gov. John Bel Edwards called the statistics “alarming.”
“The fact that there are an average of three deaths per day on Louisiana highways is unacceptable,” he said. “If travelers obey the traffic laws, wear their seatbelts, and be patient with one another, we could see these numbers go down considerably.”
Car accidents can happen for a variety of reasons. According to data, impaired and distracted driving is the cause of most highway deaths. Despite the countless hazards that crop up in everyday driving, there are steps you can take to prepare. And it starts with awareness. To help you avoid dangerous driving habits, here are 10 of the most common causes of car accidents.
1. Distracted driving
You guessed it: distracted driving is now the #1 cause of car accidents in the United States, surpassing drunk driving, speeding, and other dangerous behavior. Before you use your cell phone, fiddle with the radio, zone out, daydream, or do any personal grooming, reconsider. These habits may not seem all that dangerous, but any time your attention is on something other than the road, the chances of an accident skyrocket.
2. Drunk driving
Never get behind the wheel if you’re under the influence of an intoxicating substance (alcohol or drugs, even sleep aids are dangerous). Intoxication impairs your judgment, reaction time, and general driving skills. When in doubt, sit it out or let someone else drive.
Getting somewhere fast is never worth the risk. The faster you drive, the easier it is to end up in an accident. And accidents caused by speeding are also more likely to lead to severe injuries since at least one of the vehicles involved in the accident is moving at high speed.
4. Reckless driving
Reckless driving is always irresponsible and dangerous and is defined as disregarding traffic rules, excessive lane changes, swerving, tailgating, or brake checking. Worse yet? It’s typically a sign of an even bigger issue like intoxication or road rage.
5. Running red lights or stop signs
File this under reckless driving part two. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 40% of car accidents happen at intersections. As you might guess, drivers running red lights and stop signs are a significant factor in most of these accidents.
6. Drowsy driving
If you’re driving drowsy, the Sleep Foundation says you might as well be driving drunk. Drivers who have been awake for 20 hours typically exhibit the same symptoms as a person with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%, which is the legal limit to drive in most states.
7. Hazardous weather
Weather can play a leading role in car accidents because of slippery roads or reduced visibility from rain, snow, ice, fog, or storms. If the weather looks dicey, consider driving at another time.
8. Night driving
It can be hard to keep hazards to a minimum when driving at night, but you can be aware of your surroundings. Reduced visibility, blinding headlights from other cars, or animals crossing the road are all unique risks that require you to stay as alert as possible.
9. Vehicle defects
Vehicles are made up of hundreds of parts. Many of these parts are essential for safe driving, and a malfunction can create a dangerous situation. For example, if a tire bursts or your ABS brakes fail, you could lose control of your vehicle.
10. Road conditions
Road conditions can present numerous hazards, such as unrepaired potholes, rough pavement, loose gravel, construction, or uneven lanes. If you can avoid these hazards by taking a different route, it may be something to consider.
Contact Kleinpeter Schwarzberg Boutwell if You’ve Been in a Car Accident
Distracted or impaired driving, although highly dangerous, is not the only hazard to drivers. With the proper precautions, you can minimize your risks. If you were involved in a serious car accident or wish to discuss your injury case in a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the dangers of driving, please contact us today.