Unfortunately, vehicle accidents are extremely common across the nation. Single- and multi-vehicle crashes lead to property damage, minor-to-catastrophic personal injuries, and fatalities. These accidents happen for all types of reasons, most of them entirely preventable. If you’ve been in an accident that was caused by someone else, contact our Wisconsin car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC today at (715) 343-2850.
The 25 most common causes of car accidents and ways to avoid them include:
Speeding – Driving above the speed limit or faster than what is appropriate for the conditions is a common factor in mild-to-severe car accidents. Luckily, it is easy enough to avoid speed-related crashes. Always stay close to the posted speed limit. If you are unsure of what that is, stick with the flow of traffic and choose a speed that is appropriate for the weather, traffic, and pavement conditions.
Distracted driving – Trying to multitask while behind the wheel will get you into trouble. Being on your phone, eating, drinking, reading, doing your hair or makeup, and any other activity is bound to pull your hands, eyes, and mind from where they are supposed to be. To avoid distraction-related accidents, avoid doing anything except driving while in a vehicle. If you need to eat, stop at a restaurant or rest stop. If you need to have a phone conversation, pull over.
Cell phone use – The main culprit of distracted driving is texting or using an app like Snapchat, Tinder, or Facebook while driving. To avoid getting into an accident with your cell phone in hand, put your phone away while you are in the driver’s seat. Leave it in your bag or stick it in the glove compartment so you won’t be tempted.
Alcohol – When you have alcohol in your system, you are much more likely to cause an accident that hurts or kills someone else. Never drive after you have been drinking. If you plan to attend a party or go out to a bar, call a ride-sharing service or vote on a designated driver within your group. Do not ruin a good time by drunk driving at the end of the night.
Drugs – Intoxicated driving is not always due to alcohol. You could be too impaired to drive because of an over-the-counter product, a prescription, or a controlled substance. If you took an illegal drug or a medication that states it causes drowsiness, do not drive. If you cause an accident or get pulled over, you face both criminal and civil liability for your actions.
Drowsy driving – Driving while overly tired can be just as bad as drunk driving. When you drive on very little sleep you are likely to fall asleep behind the wheel or not notice an approaching hazard. You could be drifting in and out of your lane without even realizing it. If you find yourself constantly yawning, blinking, or falling asleep while driving, pull over at the first safe space and take a nap in the back seat or at a hotel.
Teenagers – The inexperience and bravado of most teenagers mixed with the ability to drive can be a recipe for disaster. Adolescent drivers are much more likely to cause accidents than older, more experienced drivers. To avoid your teenager causing an accident, do not let them have passengers, teach them to put their cell phones away while driving, and limit their nighttime driving.
Rain – Rain and wet pavement greatly increase the risk of an accident due to reduced visibility and traction. Before driving in the rain, clean your windshield. Do not speed and drive below the speed limit, if necessary for the conditions. Keep in mind that it will take you longer to stop, so remain further back from vehicles and begin braking earlier for stop signs, lights, and yield signs.
Fog – It can be extremely difficult to see other vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, construction, and potential hazards in heavy fog. During a fog, turn on your vehicle lights but do not use the bright setting. Drive the speed limit, but if it is dense fog, consider moving a little slower. Keep an eye on the painted lines on the road to be sure you stay in your lane. Also, never try to pass a vehicle when you cannot see the oncoming lane.
Snow and ice – If there is a great deal of snow or ice on the ground, avoid driving whenever possible. However, if you must drive, do so slowly and carefully. Make sure your tires are winter ready. Do not make fast turns, lane changes, or other maneuvers. Store necessary equipment in your vehicles like an ice scraper, shovel, gravel, extra gloves, a blanket, and a candle.
Driving at night – Nighttime driving is unfortunately more dangerous than daytime driving. The lack of light, particularly in areas without street lamps, greatly increases the risk of an accident. If you must drive at night, use your lights. If there is no oncoming traffic, consider using your brights. Refrain from speeding and keep a look out for reckless or drunk drivers.
Reckless driving – When drivers do not follow the rules of the road, act aggressively, and intentionally undertake risky maneuvers, they driving recklessly. This often includes speeding significantly above the limit, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, and cutting people off. These actions all increase the chance of an accident no matter how skilled and confident of a driver you are. You should avoid driving recklessly and instead obey the rules of the road.
Street racing – Driving fast can be enthralling. However, participating in speed competitions on public roads with other drivers is dangerous and illegal. Do not get involved with informal competitions or even competitive driving with unknown drivers.
Wrong-way driving – There is no excuse for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Doing so greatly increases the risk of a head-on collision. To avoid this, be sure to look for street signs and notice the direction of moving and parked cars.
Following too closely – It is easy to get too comfortable driving close to the vehicle ahead of you. It happens all the time in bumper-to-bumper traffic and when you are in a hurry. However, doing this significantly increases the likelihood of rear-ending another car. Instead, remain patient and remember to keep a whole vehicle’s distance between you and the other car to be sure you can stop in time.
Improper turns – As a licensed driver, you should know how to make proper left and right turn, including using your turn signal, slowing down, and obeying all traffic lights, signs, and laws. If you fail to take these basic steps, including obeying the right of way, you are likely to cause an accident.
Running stop signs and red lights – Controlling traffic, even if quiet areas, is essential to reducing the risk of a crash. By driving through a red light or stop sign you could end up hitting another vehicle who had the right of way. Instead, always stop when the rules of the road say so.
Failure to obey all rules of the road – Whether it is obeying the speed limit, keeping enough distance between your vehicle and others, or adhering to right of way, you need to follow every rule of the road no matter how insignificant they seem. When you do not follow the rules, other vehicles do not know what to expect and the risk of an accident rises.
Road rage – Road rage is more than reckless driving. It is intentionally driving aggressively or in a way that could intentionally harm someone. It often includes shouting insults, rude gestures, and confrontations. If you have experienced road rage in the past, you may need to seek treatment for your temper and learn coping mechanisms for while you drive.
Vehicle design defects – Not all car accidents are the driver’s fault. Sometimes a crash occurs because the vehicle or one of its parts was designed poorly.
Tire blowouts – Your tires are an essential factor in driving safely. You need to keep track of tire treads and air pressure. If you over fill your tires or let them get too low on air, you increase the likelihood of a blowout.
Construction – Many vehicle accidents happen in construction sites due to the reduced speed, smaller space, and additional equipment and individuals on or near the road. The roadway may also have debris or steep drop offs during construction. To avoid a construction-related accident, obey reduced speed limits, be extremely careful to remain in your lane, and do not try to change lanes or pass. Also, keep a look out for construction workers.
Potholes – Wisconsin roads can end up with severe potholes after a hard winter. Unfortunately, these don’t just damage your car, they also raise the risk of an accident when you are swerving to avoid them. If you come upon large pothole, slow down and try to avoid it, but do not blindly drive over the line. If you need to move out of your lane, go toward the side of the road and not the other lane.
Curves – Curving roads can be fun to drive, but they are also serious hazards. Whether it is a tight or blind curve, you need to slow down and be careful to stay in your lane. Driving too fast can cause you to have to swing outward into the other lane of traffic.
Animals – Another environmental condition that can lead to accidents is animals crossing the road, including deer. If you are driving at dusk or dawn, be on the lookout for animals on or at the side of the road. If you see one, slow down. You may try flashing your lights or honking to scare it away. Whatever you do, do not swerve if it comes onto the road since this merely increases the chance you collide with another car.
If you were injured a vehicle accident that was the result of one of these factors or something else entirely, do not hesitate to contact us online at Studinski Law, LLC. Auto accidents are one of our main practice areas, and we have decades of experience helping crash victims obtain compensation for their injuries. We are here to look into what happened and then explain your rights and legal options. If someone else was responsible for the accident, we can help you with an insurance claim, personal injury lawsuit, or wrongful death claim.
Call us today at (715) 343-2850 to schedule a time to talk about your situation.