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The Top 5 Dangerous Things Drivers Do that Result in Collisions

Apr 17, 2017 - Car Accidents by

auto accident attorney in Charlotte NC

Driving a car, truck or motorcycle is often a fun, relaxing leisure activity. In fact, scenic byways were designed just for this activity.  More and more people started driving.  The population grew, and so did the number of cars on the streets.  The roadways began to expand and reach out or reach in.  Somewhere along the way, driving became more than just a means to get from Point A to Point B. As a result of changing dynamics socially and culturally, drivers are behaving differently behind the wheel.  It seems as cars become safer, drivers become less so.  

According to the American Automobile Association, more commonly known as AAA, most car wrecks throughout the United States are caused by human error or negligence rather than an automobile or environmental issue.  More specifically, the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2015 that, in fact, 94% of automobile collisions are caused by drivers via human error or negligence, while the remaining causes were evenly divided among vehicles, environment, and unknown reasons at approximately 2% each.  

The U.S. Department of Transportation breaks down the human error and negligence causes into 5 categories: 

  1. Recognition Errors at 41%. Recognition error includes a “driver’s inattention, internal and external distractions, and inadequate surveillance.”
  2. Decision Errors at 33%. Decision errors are decisions made in error, and can include “driving too fast for conditions, too fast for the curve, false assumption of others’ actions, illegal maneuver and misjudgment of gap or others’ speed.”
  3. Performance Errors at 11%. Performance errors are positive errors in your driving performance.  For example, “overcompensation, poor directional control.” 
  4. Non-Performance Errors at 7%.  Non-performance errors are negative errors made by not performing the function of driving, such as sleeping.
  5. Other Errors at 8%. 

With the above in mind, below are the top 5 dangerous things drivers do that lead to car accidents.  

Recognition Error: Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the number one cause for car wrecks in the United States.  Drivers put on make-up, daydream, shave, brush their teeth, eat, and among many other things, get on their phone to talk or text or google information.  Multi-tasking was not driving’s purpose.  When a driver is distracted, she isn’t paying attention to the road and to her surroundings.  A driver may be looking, but he may not actually see what needs to be seen where he’s looking.  Distraction in many ways makes you blind, and you arrive at your destination via sheer luck and auto-pilot capabilities, but this auto-pilot is not automated or technical; it can breakdown.

Today, the most serious culprit of distraction is the cell phone.  Those few seconds while you look at a phone to either make a call or text a message can end up with a fatality on your hands rather than that phone in your hands.  In fact, on average, every day 9 Americans are killed from motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving, specifically cellphone use. 341,000 motor vehicle crashes a year are caused by texting while driving.  Indeed, if you use a cellphone while driving, your chances of being in a car crash just multiplied by 4.

Decision Errors: Failure to Follow Rules

There are a number of traffic rules and regulations that give rise to the high statistical rate of decision errors as a cause of car wrecks, but four come to mind: (1) speeding; (2) failure to yield the right of way; (3) running red light commands; and (4) reckless driving.  

  • Speeding is a matter of physics: the faster you go, the longer it takes you to stop and the harder you hit.  Speeding may be a thrill, but speeding injures, maims and kills.  
  • Failure to yield the right of way is another dangerous error that drivers make.  It doesn’t matter if there’s barely a car in sight or if their cars coming from every direction, failure to yield the right of way often leaves a forceful impact.
  • Running red lights is relatively common, and many cities have placed cameras at intersections to capture drivers running the lights.  You would be wise to think twice before making this error.

Reckless driving encompasses a lot of decision errors, including acting aggressively, changing lanes too quickly, and tailgating.  Reckless driving can land you with a bigger ticket, just hope that’s all you end up with.

Decision Error: Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol

The worst decision you can make is to drink and drive, or do drugs and drive. It seems counter-intuitive to have to keep reminding people that alcohol and drugs impair the mind, and in doing so, your ability to drive suffers.  You cannot react appropriately on the road.  You may swerve; you may fall asleep; you may drive too slow or too fast; you may not see that car up ahead until it is too late.  

Performance Error: Losing Control of the Car

Loss of control of a car is difficult to define and yet so simple to define because it is just that: loss of control of the car.  With regard to car wrecks, you can’t pinpoint a specific accident as caused particularly or solely by loss of control.  In fact, it is probably technically accurate to suggest that almost all collisions are loss of control incidents because, in the end, the driver was unable to maintain control of the vehicle as it crashed into the other vehicle. For insurance purposes, a loss of control type incident is one where a driver runs the car off the side of the road or rear-ends another car.  

Non-Performance Error: Driving Tired

Driving while tired is just as dangerous as drinking and driving.  You lose control of your capabilities when you are tired.  If you fall asleep, you lose control of everything.  And yet, people continue to get behind the wheel when they are sleepy, just as they do after having a beer or two.  Of course, sometimes the drowsiness takes over after one has started driving, but still, those same drivers continue to drive because they need to get to their destination.  The best thing to do is find a safe location, pull over and close your eyes for as long as you can.

KEEP IT SAFE

In the end, human error and negligence are the cause of most car wrecks, so it is our responsibility to identify our driving behavior that manifests into errors and correct them as soon as possible.  If you have been in a car accident and have questions, please contact a skilled car crash injury lawyer in Charlotte at Brown Moore & Associates, LLC.  We are here to help you and protect your rights.