When you drive a vehicle, you are driving a potential weapon that weighs several tons. It is important to drive responsibly so you can avoid getting into a vehicle crash and injuring or killing you or another person. Here are three of the most common causes of vehicle crashes and what you can do to prevent them.
Distracted Driving with Your Phone
When you consider how much you use and rely on your cell phone each day, it is no surprise that 25 percent of all auto crashes are related to cell phone use. But, because cell phones are so distracting and deadly while used in your vehicle, you need to do all you can to refrain from using them while you drive.
Various states have passed laws banning cell phone use while you are driving, unless you are using a hands-free device. Unfortunately, even using your phone hands-free can still cause your mind to focus on something other than driving. One study found that when you are driving and talking on the phone at the same time, your chance of getting in a vehicle crash quadruples.
The best defense to prevent your cell phone getting you into a vehicle crash is to put your phone away while you are driving. Turn it off, or turn it on silent and put it in the glove box or a purse while you are on the road. As soon as you get to your destination, then you can check your phone. If you absolutely need to use your phone while driving, pull over to the side of the road before doing so.
Although distracted driving with a cell phone causes the most vehicle crashes, alcohol is a factor in over 40 percent of all vehicle fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving it is estimated that 300,000 people drive drunk every day. Driving while you are drunk will give you a slow reaction time, poor vision, and the inability to make good decisions. The sad part with drunk driving is it is 100 percent preventable because each drunk driver makes a conscious choice to get behind the wheel to drive.
There are a few easy options to help you avoid driving drunk. You can call a taxi at the end of the night or even pay ahead for your fare home that evening. Bring along a designated driver friend on your night out, or ask a friend or relative beforehand if they will come and pick you up at the end of the night. This way your friend or relative can relax in the comfort of their own home until you are ready to come home.
According to the United States Department of Transportation, speeding is the most common cause of vehicle crashes in the United States. If you increase your speed from 40 to 60 mph, the energy that is released when you crash more than doubles.
Always plan to leave earlier than you actually need to so you won't be running behind and feel the need to speed. When you stop and think about the time you save yourself by speeding to a local destination, such as work, or a doctor's appointment, you will only arrive at your destination a few minutes sooner than if you had driven the speed limit. Before you get on the road when you are in a hurry, think about how bad your situation will be if you crash and don't arrive at your destination at all.
Be sure you make smart decisions before and when you get behind the wheel so you can avoid these three common causes of vehicle crashes. For more information on legal help (if you've already been in an accident) contact a car accident attorney.