As with any state in the Union, car crashes in North Carolina are usually caused by drivers’ actions that could have been prevented.
Some of the most common causes for accidents are well-known – like texting, drunk driving, and speeding – yet these driver errors still cause millions of car accidents and tens of thousands of deaths nationwide every year.
Being aware of the more common causes for accidents can both protect you from these behavoirs in other drivers and help you improve your own driving habits. Compiled from the most recent data report published by the North Carolina DMV, here is a list of some of the major causes of vehicle accidents statewide.
- Speeding. More often than not, speeding appears in the first or second spot of any list of primary causes for accidents. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association indicate 1 out of every 3 accidents is a result of speeding. In North Carolina alone, speeding is a factor in roughly 75,000 accidents, 45,000 injuries, and 500 deaths every year.
- Distracted Driving. Official statistics show distracted driving trailing speed in terms of accidents caused per year. However, there are far more accidents caused by distracted driving than are reported. This is because proving a driver was distracted before a crash is more difficult than proving they were speeding. Regardless, the NHTSA calls distracted driving a deadly epidemic, and estimates up to 20 percent of near misses and accidents are a result of distracted driving. Recently things have gotten even worse as mobile technology has created a desire among many Americans to remain connected at all times – even behind the wheel. Still, anything that draws your attention away from driving – whether it’s your phone, GPS, passengers, food, or something else entirely – can be classified as a distraction.
- Driving Under the Influence. Every year, alcohol is a factor in about 5% of crashes in South Carolina – but plays a role in 33% of all auto accident fatalities in the state. This means while various factors like awareness campaigns and stricter DUI law enforcement have led to less drunk driving in general, it remains one of the leading causes of deaths on American roads. It is also easily one of the most preventable causes of auto accidents. Despite this, drunk driving deaths continue to tear countless families and communities apart. If you are planning on going out drinking, it is important to make a decision before you leave on how you will get home without driving yourself or riding in a car driven by an intoxicated person. And even if you’re sober while on the road, you still need to watch out for drivers who aren’t as conscientious as you.
- Reckless Driving. Though all the major causes of auto accidents could be called “reckless,” in this context recklessness is a general term for aggressive driving tactics on the road without regard for the safety of other motorists. Examples include behaviors such as abrupt braking, aggressive passing maneuvers, road rage, and weaving through traffic.
- Tailgating. Perhaps a subcategory of reckless driving, tailgating causes enough rear end collisions every year to warrant a special mention. Tailgating can also be the source of road rage for other drivers. To prevent rear end collisions, allow a space of 2 to 3 seconds in between you and the car in front of you. How do you do this? Choose a stationary marker on the road, and begin counting as soon as the car in front of you passes that marker. If you pass the stationary point before the count of 3, you should slow down a moment until the driver is further ahead of you.
- Running red lights and stop signs. Whether it is caused by distraction, intoxication, or impatience, thousands of crashes occur every year when drivers speed through red light or stop signs. It should be noted that, according to the North Carolina DMV, over half these accidents result in an injury of some kind.
- Unsafe Lane Changes. Not necessarily the first cause of automobile accidents that comes to mind, unsafe lane changes nonetheless accounted for nearly 9,000 accidents this year in North Carolina. This particular mistake also has an unusually high rate of injuries per accident. Unsafe lane changes occur when a driver fails to signal or check their mirrors and/or blind spot before switching lanes. It is also unsafe for a driver to change lanes suddenly, especially during poor weather conditions.
If you are injured in an automobile accident because another driver behaved in a negligent manner, you owe it to yourself and others in the community to seek justice. By working with an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can not only secure fair and just compensation that will allow you to enjoy a speedy recovery without worrying about medical bills and lost wages, but also send a message to other unsafe drivers that their actions will not be tolerated.
About the Author
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.