Help us get the word out! Together we can reduce the number of fatal driving accidents! We looked at the most recent data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and found which driving behaviors reported for drivers and motorcycle operators were the ones most involved in fatal crashes (scroll down to see the list).
Drowsy, falling asleep, fatigued, ill or blacked out were the most common reasons for nonperformance errors and accounted for roughly 3% of auto crashes annually. It's always better to stay away from getting behind the wheel when you're having a hard time staying awake!
Poor weather – especially rain – is a huge factor in many motor vehicle accidents. Slick roads, poor visibility and unpredictable driving conditions are all factors when it comes to contributors of auto crashes. Atmospheric and roadway conditions also include things like glare from the sun, view obstruction, in addition to slick roads from rain, snow or ice.
Drivers who swerve to avoid hitting an object in the road is not an uncommon occurrence. Things fall off trucks all the time. Other surprises on the road might be pedestrians who are where they are not supposed to be; slick road surfaces or high winds can also cause a driver to swerve unexpectedly. Annually, around 1,500 drivers are involved in these type of fatal crashes.
Reckless driving is different from careless driving. Reckless drivers display a blatant disregard for the rules of the road, and as a result, the safety of other drivers. On average, 3.5% of fatal car crashes are due to reckless driving.
Traffic signals and signs are put in place for a reason; when drivers fail to obey them, everyone is in danger as a result. Failure to obey traffic signs and/or failure to obey signals or an officer were driver behaviors in around 4% of fatal crashes annually.
These terms simply mean the driver reacted to an event, such as another car, an object in the road, or a loss of control of his or her vehicle. This can obviously occur for a variety of reasons, including a driver not paying attention to driving and then being surprised by something ahead, an unexpected object on the road, another vehicle suddenly appearing into the driver’s lane, etc. Overcorrecting/oversteering was cited on average, in 4.1% of fatal driving accidents in the last decade.
Careless driving can include behaviors while driving that are unintentional or accidental but nevertheless pose a danger to others. Drivers always have the potential to harm other drivers or pedestrians, not to mention their passengers, whenever they get behind the wheel, so paying careful attention to the road is essential.
Distracted driving is an obvious problem these days. People driving while looking at their cellphones is only one source of the many distractions that can affect drivers. Eating, grooming, adjusting radios, and rubbernecking are among others. According to the NHTSA, there are about 3,200 people killed in distracted driving auto accidents annually, though we believe the actual number is probably much higher.
In nearly 7% of fatal crashes, drivers failed to yield the right of way. When drivers fail to yield, even when they have the right of way, the potential for collision increases. This is a particular problem at intersections.
Why drivers fail to keep in the proper lane while driving can vary from distracted driving to drowsy or impaired driving. In addition to these reasons, drivers with a medical condition (heart attack, stroke, etc.) can veer into another driver’s lane and cause a collision or results in a driver running off the road. About 8.5% of fatal crashes were due to these type of accidents.
Alcohol-impaired-driving occurs when drivers have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 g/dL or greater. On average, 12.3% of the drivers involved in fatal crashes were found to have either too much alcohol or drug in their blood to be driving legally. That means annually, there are roughly 5,500 drivers under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other medication when a fatal crash occurred.
Everybody seems to be in a hurry, but driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limits clearly contributes to auto accidents and accident fatalities. According to the NHTSA, the top reason for traffic accidents and fatalities were driving too fast for the road conditions. Driving too fast to safely navigate the curve in the road, misunderstood assumptions about another driver’s actions, the inability to compensate due to speed, or the inability to compensate for the illegal maneuvers by other cars.
It is important to note that not all car crash causes can be accounted for, particularly when it comes to understanding all the variables involved in a traffic accident, nor is it easy to obtain all the facts in order to do so. For example, 31% of all fatal accidents had no reported cause at all.
We also expect that driver accidents due to driver distraction should be much, much higher on the list, but how many people can you imagine actually volunteering to an investigating police officer or an insurance company that they were texting a friend on a cellphone just before an accident?
Either way, it is our hope that we can all be better, safer drivers anytime we are traveling for our own benefit as well as that of those sharing the roads with us. Please pass this along and help get the word out, together we can make America's roads safer. TOGETHER WE CAN HELP SAVE LIVES!
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.