All drivers make mistakes; in most cases the result ends with no harm.
On occasion, however, a common driving error ends up causing a collision. The result can be damage, injury or even death.
To lessen the likelihood of becoming an accident statistic, here are some common driving mistakes you should avoid.
Everyone knows not to drive after drinking alcohol, but the same is true for drivers taking certain medications or using marijuana or other drugs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 31 percent of all traffic fatalities involve alcohol-impaired drivers. Drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal) are involved in about 16 percent of motor vehicle crashes. Among nighttime and weekend drivers involved in accidents, 13 percent have marijuana in their systems.
It is difficult for law enforcement and traffic safety officials to determine how often vehicle accidents occur because of sleepy drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates about 83,000 accidents annually result from drivers impaired by sleepiness. That includes more than 800 deaths each year, or about 2.5 percent of all traffic fatalities. The agency, however, notes the difficulty in obtaining accurate data and states the problem could be as much as 10 times greater than those numbers.
While cellphone use and texting are usually considered the biggest problem, many other activities compete for a driver's attention. Some are eating and drinking, talking to passengers, applying makeup or grooming, reading, looking at maps, using a navigation system, watching a video or adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player, according to distraction.gov. “Because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction,” the organization says. Distracted driving accounted for 431,000 injury accidents in 2014, including 3,179 fatalities.
Driving too fast is an especially serious issue for teenage drivers because they don’t have the experience to know how speed affects response time. A National Institutes of Health study in 2005 found, “teens drive an average of 1.3 mph faster than all drivers as a whole," according to cars.com. "NHTSA reported in 2008 that 37 percent of fatal crashes with 15- to 20-year-old males at the wheel involved speeding.”
If the driver in front of you stops quickly, and you can’t brake in time, you or someone in the other car could easily be among the nearly 1 million people each year injured in rear-end collisions.
"Don't be fooled, you cannot drive defensively when you're following too close," says automotive-fleet.com. "As you travel closer to the vehicle in front, you begin to fix your attention on a small window of activity, reacting to the limited information transmitted by the tail lights directly ahead. You no longer have the big picture and your options to react to a situation are limited by the space you have allowed."
“Ideally, you should apply your turn signal 100 feet before initiating a turn, and at least five seconds before changing lanes,” according to toyota.com. Many drivers signal too early or too late, or completely fail to use their blinker. “When you apply your turn signal too early, too late, or not at all, you put everyone at risk of an accident,” the website says.
When a simple driving mistake results in a crash, accident victims need an attorney they can trust. The attorneys at Ed Bernstein & Associates have more than 40 years experience in personal injury law and understand its finer nuances. Visit edbernstein.com or call (702) 240-0000 to find out how to get started on the road to recovery.