As you drive along the road to grandma's house this summer, safety should be your number one priority. No one wants their breaks marred by something like a totaled car or hurt family members. These are the types of accidents that happen to drivers the most, as well as how you can easily avoid them.
Australia has seen over 190,000 fatalities since accurate car records began in 1925. Since higher standards of safety were implemented in the 1970s there has been an decrease in the road death toll, with 3,798 deaths in 1970 compared to 1,226 in 2017. While this decrease is a good thing for Australians on the road, the number of deaths on the road is still far too high to relax anytime soon.
A lot of those deaths can be avoided by following the most basic safety procedures, like wearing your seat belt, not driving while intoxicated, and avoiding using your phone while you drive. That said, accidents still do happen due to other causes.
Using data collected for the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey for the U.S. Department of Transportation, Steve Casner, a safety expert and author of Careful: A User's Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds, determined these to be the types of car accidents that happen the most. While specific to the US, the statistics give a good idea of the type accidents all motorists should be extra aware of:
- Falling asleep at the wheel: Accounts for around 7 per cent of all crashes, and 21 per cent of fatal crashes. Make sure you get enough sleep before you hit the road, and grab a cup of coffee on your way out.
- Loss of vehicle control: Accounts for 11 per cent of all crashes. Always keep other driving variables in mind. Consider the weather, your vehicle's maintenance, and other drivers.
- Blind left turns: Accounts for 12 per cent of all crashes. If you can't see around that bus, don't risk driving out into the intersection. Always stop and wait until you know the coast is clear.
- Rear-enders: Accounts for 23 per cent to 30 per cent of all crashes. Pay attention to the car in front of you, watch for those brake lights, and always give yourself plenty of space to stop if you need to.
- Not staying in your lane: Accounts for roughly 30 per cent of all crashes. When you're driving, focus on the road; not the people in the car, not your radio, and not your phone. It doesn't take much for a driver to drift out of lane and cause a serious accident.
The rest of the causes involve things like rolling right on red lights, which Casner says accounts for 6 per cent of all pedestrian fatalities; 21 per cent of which are children. Furthermore, the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey suggests that about 36 per cent of all pre-crash events occurred while drivers were turning or crossing at intersections.
That's why it's imperative you always come to a complete stop, then check carefully for pedestrians and vehicles before turning or driving through. You can read more of Casner's data at the link below.
Anatomy of a Car Crash [Slate]