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Millions of collisions and car accidents occur every year. While there are a variety of causes for crashes, some are more common than others. We’ve put together a list of the most common causes of collision; read on below to learn more about why car accidents happen (and what you can do to try to avoid them).
We all know that driving under the influence is incredibly dangerous; but did you know that about one-third of driver fatalities in the US occurs with a BAC of .08 or higher? Crashes that involve alcohol-impaired drivers kill almost 30 people across America every day.
Blood alcohol concentration: the effects
Usually, a person with an elevated BAC level cannot maintain their lane position or use their brakes correctly.
Alcohol isn’t the only substance that impairs your ability to drive. Marijuana also changes a person’s reaction time and means of judgment. More and more people are beginning to use marijuana, and driving under the influence of cannabis has become increasingly common.
Studies demonstrate that more than one in ten nighttime and weekend drivers have marijuana in their systems.
The CDC defines drowsy driving as “the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue.” Drowsy driving usually happens because a person has not slept enough. It can also happen because of medications, untreated sleep disorders, and drinking.
Falling asleep at the wheel clearly presents a huge danger, but even driving while a little drowsy is risky. Drowsiness impacts someone’s ability to drive safely.
If you ever experience the signs of drowsy driving while you’re behind the wheel, change drivers or pull over somewhere safe to take a 20-minute nap.
Some people are more likely to drive drowsy. People who don’t get enough sleep are at risk of driving drowsy. This includes shift workers and commercial drivers. Drivers who use medications that make them tired and those with untreated sleep disorders are also more likely to drive while drowsy.
Driving drowsy is similar to driving drunk. Certain studies have shown that driving while tired or drowsy impairs your ability to drive the same way that driving under the influence does. Lack of sleep impacts:
Drowsy driving is impaired driving. Drowsiness qualifies as a cognitive impairment.
Every day, eight Americans die in collisions reported to involve a distracted driver. Distracted driving puts everybody at risk—even people who aren’t in cars. One in five people killed in accidents involving distracted drivers is not in vehicles
Any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the act of driving constitutes a distraction. When someone drives distracted, they increase the chance of a car accident. According to the CDC, there are three primary types of driver distractions: cognitive, manual, and visual.
The most dangerous types of distractions are the ones that combine the above. Texting is a good example. Texting is a manual, cognitive, and visual distraction.
Speeding has been linked to one in three motor vehicle fatalities for more than twenty years.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shared that speeding:
Unfortunately, people speed for lots of reasons. Some people speed to be intentionally reckless or aggressive. Other people speed because they are running late or feel pressure to be somewhere. No matter why somebody speeds, it’s dangerous to those around them.
According to AAA, almost 80 percent of drivers report expressing significant anger, aggression, or road rage while driving at least one time in the previous 30 days. Road rage and aggressive driving are prevalent in the US; any unsafe driving behavior that is performed deliberately and with disregard for safety (or ill intention) constitutes aggressive driving.
Aggressive driving can look different depending on the situation. Some examples include:
Think of road rage as aggressive driving taken up a level. Extreme instances of aggressive driving may escalate into road rage.
Some examples of actions that indicate road rage include:
Most of us need to drive at night at some point. With that said, night driving can be dangerous—even if you’re totally comfortable on the road. The National Safety Council has even stated that nighttime is the most dangerous time to drive.
Visibility at night. Did you know that even high-beam headlights don't increase visibility beyond 500 feet? That figure drops to 250 feet for normal headlights. If someone is driving at night, they don’t always have time to react to things on the road. This is especially true if the person exceeds the speed limit or drives too fast for conditions.
Approximately 21 percent of the nearly 6 million vehicle crashes that occur every year are weather-related. Most of these accidents occur on wet pavement and during rainfall.
Adverse weather conditions don’t just make it hard for us to drive from place to place, either. Some weather makes it difficult for winter road maintenance, traffic management, emergency management, and law enforcement agencies to do their jobs. This presents an increased risk to drivers who get into accidents.
When someone is hurt in an accident, they may have the right to seek compensation for the damages they experience. Damages take lots of different forms: medical bills, property damage, mental anguish, lost wages, etc.
Every collision case is unique. That means that the damages and compensation amounts involved in each case are unique, too. Nobody can tell you exactly which damages you can recover or how much they’re worth; but here’s a primer on some of the most commonly sought damages after car accidents.
If you’ve incurred medical bills because of your accident, those bills may be compensable. You can even work with your attorney to fight for compensation for projected medical bills associated with the collision too. Lots of people need to pay medical bills for quite some time after an accident; you don’t need to worry about future costs if you receive compensation for those damages.
Compensation for medical expenses includes a wide range of costs. Everything—from surgeries and prescriptions to custom-made medical equipment—is eligible for compensation.
Many car accidents cause survivors immense pain and suffering. If your injuries lead to physical pain, you deserve compensation for your experiences. No amount of money can account for the physical toll of an accident, but compensation is there to help.
Keep in mind that injuries don’t need to be severe to cause pain and suffering. You deserve to be compensated for your experiences regardless of the degree of your injuries.
Collisions can have a deep mental and emotional impact on survivors, too. You don’t deserve to face anxiety, grief, or hopelessness because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. You can work with a lawyer to pursue compensation for mental anguish after a crash.
When you get into a collision, you may miss time from work as a result. Many people need to take days, weeks, or even months off of work due to their injuries after a crash. Even if you “only” missed a day or two on the job, it can still have serious financial consequences.
This is why collision survivors can pursue compensation for lost wages. If you missed out on pay because of your accident, you can ask your attorney more about damages for lost wages.
Compensation for lost wages can help when you miss time from work. What happens if you have to leave your job because of your injuries, though? What if your ability to earn money is permanently diminished by your collision?
Here’s where compensation for diminished earning capacity comes into play. If a car accident changes somebody’s ability to earn money, they can pursue damages to account for their diminished earning capacity. ‘
No matter what caused your collision, you likely stand to benefit from working with a car accident attorney. He or she can help you fight for justice and compensation after an accident. Here are the general steps you’ll follow as you begin the process of finding an attorney.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to work with a lawyer to achieve a settlement or file a lawsuit. Lawyers simply help their clients complete the process more effectively and efficiently. People have better luck demanding compensation when they have a lawyer by their side.
Once it’s time for you to begin searching for an attorney, there are some things you should keep in mind.
Your attorney will work to investigate the accident and determine what happened. He or she will build a case centered around securing you fair compensation. Your lawyer will also negotiate for the damages you wish to pursue.
During this time, you may be asked to assist in the process by:
Most cases settle during the negotiation phase. This means that your case will likely settle outside of court.
This only applies if your case fails to settle outside of court. If your case cannot settle out of court, your lawyer may file a car accident lawsuit on your behalf. This allows you and the liable party to present evidence, give statements, and tell your side of the story.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, there may be an opportunity for you to pursue justice on their behalf. You can work with a wrongful death lawyer (many car accident attorneys have experience with wrongful death cases) to build a case. A qualified wrongful death attorney may help you recover end-of-life and other costs after your loved one’s passing.