The Most Common Reason For Car Crashes In The United States

Posted on April 20th, 2018
By Steven Gursten

personal injury basics

Car crashes happen much more frequently than anyone likes to believe. While car crashes have many different causes, the most common reason for car accidents in the United States has to do with drivers who don’t stay in their own lane.

This is a frequent problem that has a wide number of underlying causes, but the end result is the same. As many as 33% of all crashes are caused by drivers pulling out of their own lane and into a lane occupied by another driver’s vehicle. Whether it’s a slow drift or a sudden swerve, drivers who don’t stay in their own lane are often the reason behind car wrecks.

Pre-crash Events That Lead to Not Staying in the Correct Lane

Crossing into the wrong lane has several possible causes. For most drivers, one of many different pre-crash events occur before the driver actually starts to swerve or move into another driver’s lane.

Some of these events that may ultimately trigger a crash include the following:

  • Driving too fast, typically faster than posted speed limits
  • Failing to take road conditions into consideration, and driving too fast in slippery conditions or conditions of diminished visibility
  • Driver distraction from passengers, cell phones, GPS, radios, etc.
  • Road conditions including weather that can cause slippery conditions even if the driver isn’t driving fast
  • Vehicle problems such as wheel or tire damage, or losing control of steering
  • Swerving to avoid debris or an animal in the road
  • Potholes
  • Drowsiness
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances

Forgotten Rules of Etiquette

Basic road etiquette is taught in driving school but often forgotten as years go by. Drivers sometimes forget that simply letting other drivers know that they need to change lanes is much safer than trying to cut into traffic aggressively or unexpectedly. It’s also basic etiquette to let other cars merge in heavy traffic rather than trying to stay bumper to bumper and not let anyone in.

Tailgating can also create unsafe conditions. If you are not leaving the length of a car between cars, it can be difficult or impossible to stop if another driver drifts into your lane or has to slam on the brakes.

Let other drivers know your intentions. Use turn signals in plenty of time, and don’t assume other drivers know what you are planning to do if you haven’t let them know.

Drive Defensively

Whenever you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, it is impossible to know if drivers near you on the road have gotten enough sleep or if they have been using alcohol or other substances. You can’t even know for sure whether they are actually licensed drivers.

Keep your cool and remember that road rage doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s always better to avoid reacting in anger to other drivers. Refuse to get into confrontations about disagreements on the road.

Always drive defensively and give your driving your full attention. In a perfect world, other drivers would always be giving their driving their full attention as well, but there is always a chance that another driver will end up in your lane whether or not they mean to. Take responsibility for giving yourself as much time as possible to react to anything that might happen.

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