Most communities have well-known intersections or parking lots where car accidents seem to occur more frequently than other areas. Some drivers even go out of their way to avoid these trouble spots to hopefully reduce the chance of motor vehicle accident. Learning more about when and where traffic accidents happen can help drivers reduce their risk and prevent serious injuries.
Areas Close to Home
It is misconception that accidents happen less often in familiar areas. According to a Progressive Insurance study, 52 percent of motor vehicle accidents happen within five miles of the driver’s residence, and around 77 percent of accidents happen within 15 miles of the home. These accidents tend to take place in neighborhoods, where drivers sideswipe parked cars or collide with residents pulling away from the curb.
It is difficult to say why many car accidents happen close to home. It could be that drivers who live in the neighborhood are more likely to drive on autopilot and do not drive as defensively or cautiously as they would in an unfamiliar area.
Increased speeds, tractor trailers, and rush-hour traffic make highways especially dangerous. Accidents on major highways are more likely to result injuries than those in rural roads or neighborhood streets. Some drivers do their best to avoid highway driving altogether. However, depending upon one’s destination, that is not always feasible.
Here are some highway safe driving tips to reduce the risk of a car accident:
- Give trucks their space.
- Always drive the speed limit.
- Never use a cellphone while driving.
- Use the left lane for passing only.
- Follow the vehicle ahead at a safe distance.
- Speed up on the ramp before merging onto the highway.
- Drive defensively.
- Move away from aggressive drivers.
Navigating a busy intersection can be nerve-wracking. At intersections with stop signs in one direction online, drivers can be T-boned after entering the intersection without looking to make sure it is clear to proceed.
Four-way stop intersections are also dangerous because drivers may be unaware of who goes first, leading to collisions when two cars proceed at the same time. In most states, the driver who is first to arrive crosses the intersection first. When two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the right goes first.
Less traveled, rural, two-lane roads are another common location for car accidents. In fact, more fatal accidents occur on rural roads, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, many accidents happen at night in areas not light by streetlights. Thirteen percent of those accidents are head-on collisions. Limited visibility makes it difficult for drivers to see other vehicles, pedestrians, and animals.
A NHTSA study on the breakdown of fatal rural car accidents versus fatal urban crashes also shows vehicle damage is greater in rural collisions. Eighty percent of vehicles involved in rural crashes were totally disabled compared to 67 percent in urban fatal crashes, suggesting that drivers are more likely to speed in rural areas.
Minor accidents are also common in parking lots where large numbers of vehicles are coming and going in many different directions. These crashes tend to be the result of people not paying attention and backing up without looking. Some drivers drive too fast and engage in other aggressive behaviors in crowded parking lots, increasing the risk to not only the drivers, but to pedestrians as well.
Rush Hour Traffic
According to NHTSA, driving is the most dangerous between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., which is during the evening commute. A few factors make rush hour driving riskier. The sheer volume of vehicles on the road increases the chance of a crash. Also, people who are in a hurry to get home may speed, tailgate, or take more risks than usual in an effort to get to their destination faster. At the end of a long workday, some drivers are overly tired and nod off in stop-and-go rush hour traffic.
Those workers who have a few drinks at the office happy hour before heading home have slower reflexes, impaired decision-making, and reduced vision. That is a deadly combination for anyone behind the wheel.
How can I Avoid a Car Accident?
Unless one wants to avoid parking lots, highways, and rural roads, the more practical approach to avoid car accidents is to be a safer driver overall. Listed below are important safety driving tips to reduce the chance of a crash:
- Pay attention.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Obey the speed limits.
- Give pedestrians the right-of-way.
- Brush up on local traffic laws.
- Be defensive.
- Drive sober.
What is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving is an approach that involves safe driving skills to identify predictable roadway hazards and make informed decisions about how to manage them, with the goal of avoiding accidents and saving lives. There are a few ways to become a defensive driver.
The primary goal of defensive driving is to anticipate accident hazards and take calm actions to avert them. Many hazards are out of the driver’s control, but with defensive driving skills, the motorist has the ability to deal with unpredictable hazards safely and effectively. One example would be a driver who encounters a speeding motorist weaving in and out of their lane. Sensing an impeding collision, the defensive driver slows down and puts distance between them.
Rush hour is a time where tempers flare and hurried commuters are more likely to speed and cut off other cars to get ahead. The defensive driver, recognizing their own tendency to get stressed during the evening commute, takes the scenic route home. It may take a bit longer to get there, but the drive is more peaceful and safer.
Avoid Dangerous Driving Behaviors
Every driver has a duty to make responsible choices to protect themselves and everyone they come into contact with. It is about knowing what it means to be a safe driver and taking the necessary steps to do that.
Distracted driving is an enormous problem. Looking at the cellphone for just two to three seconds can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle. Defensive motorists know the risks involved and avoid distracted driving.
Defensive driving courses teach practical skills for avoiding car accidents. The most effective crash prevention techniques include:
- Knowing the right-of-way.
- Sharing the road.
- Safe and clear passing.
- The two-second following rule.
- Scanning ahead for hazards.
- Knowing the vehicle’s stopping distance.
- Adjusting speed for road conditions.
- Knowing what to do in an emergency.
While these are just a few examples of safe driving habits and techniques, they are important and will help reduce the risk of a collision.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Fight on Behalf of Those Injured by Reckless Motorists
A car accident injury can be life-changing in so many ways, but knowing more information about collisions can help reduce the likelihood of a crash. If you were recently injured by a negligent driver, speak to one of our Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us at 302-888-1221 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, Newark, and Middletown.