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Common causes of car accidents in the U.S.

Law enforcement officers face the same risks as other drivers, as a recent crash in the Bay Area illustrates. According to ABC’s 7 News, a California Highway Patrol Officer was injured when a car crashed into his vehicle, which was pulled over on Interstate 80. The driver and passengers on the right side of the car were all taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The CHP officer received moderate injuries and was also taken to the hospital. While the driver may have suffered a medical issue or a problem with the vehicle that led to the crash, it is more likely that the cause of the crash was any number and type of driver errors.

Huffington Post lists the top causes of vehicle accidents in the U.S., many of which are preventable. The most common reason for crashes is distracted driving, which includes talking on a mobile phone, texting, eating, reading and grooming. If your attention is taken away from the road even for a second or two, that is more than long enough to have an accident.

Speeding is the second most common reason for crashes, edging out even drunk driving. Despite increasingly stiffer penalties, many thousand people continue to drive after drinking or taking drugs. Even one drink can affect you, so take a taxi or call a friend instead of driving yourself. Sudden lane changes, tailgating and other aggressive driving practices are considered reckless driving, another top cause of accidents. Here are some additional causes:

  • Blowouts: A tire blowout that makes the car swerve unexpectedly
  • Animal crossings: Hitting a deer can cause severe injuries, as well as vehicle damage
  • Teen drivers: Youth with little driving experience can panic in unsafe conditions and may be distracted when friends are in the car
  • Driving errors: Turning the wrong way into a one-way street, making improper turns and other errors
  • Road construction: Traffic cones and lane changes can be confusing for any driver

Road conditions can also play a role in crashes. Heavy rain and speed do not mix and can cause your car to hydroplane. As with any bad weather, avoid driving in it if possible. Road hazards, including potholes, are harder to see at night, so make sure to use your high beams on dark roads and remain alert.

Driving sober, ignoring distractions and obeying the speed limit are all things that you can control and are your best defense in avoiding accidents. Remaining alert to conditions and other drivers are additional factors in your safe arrival at any destination.

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