As a driver, you are responsible for your own safety on the road as well as the safety of those around you. While many things can lead to an accident, research shows that a significant number are caused by human error.
Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention and focus. When you are not paying attention to the road, or if you are distracted in any way, you are more likely to make mistakes that could lead to an accident.
This blog post explores some of the most common mistakes drivers make that can lead to an accident:
1. Not Paying Attention to the Road
It is essential to be alert and aware of your surroundings while driving. Unfortunately, many accidents occur because drivers are not paying attention to the road.
Distractions such as talking on the phone, eating, or changing the radio station can take your focus off driving and increase your risk of an accident.
Statistics show that at least 26% of all car accidents are caused by driver distraction. So, if you must do something that takes your attention away from the road, it is essential to pull over to a safe location first.
Driving too fast is one of the most common causes of accidents. When you drive too fast, you not only increase your risk of getting in a crash, but you also make it more difficult to stop or avoid a collision.
In fact, speeding is a factor in nearly one-third of all car accidents. Most states have speed limits for highways and city streets, so it is important to obey these posted limits.
Additionally, you should always drive at a speed that is safe for the current conditions. For example, if it is raining or snowing, you will need to slow down to account for the slick road conditions.
If you are driving a public service vehicle, ensure it is fitted with a functional speed limiter as per the requirements.
3. Failing to Yield
When two vehicles approach an intersection, one vehicle usually has the right-of-way while the other must yield.
However, many drivers fail to yield properly, which can lead to a collision. In fact, failing to yield is one of the leading causes of car accidents.
There are many different situations where you might be required to yield, such as when:
- You are making a left turn, and another vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction
- You are merging onto a highway, and traffic is already flowing on the highway
- You see a pedestrian crossing the street in a crosswalk
- You are approaching a stop sign or red light
If you are unsure who has the right-of-way, it is always best to yield to the other driver. It doesn’t hurt to give way to the other motorist even if you think you have the right of way.
4. Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is incredibly dangerous and a major cause of accidents.
Not only does drinking impair your driving ability, but it also slows down your reaction time and makes it difficult to focus on the road.
In 2021, approximately 10,874 people were killed in alcohol-impaired crashes, which is nearly 29% of all traffic fatalities for the year. If you are going to drink, it is essential to have a designated driver or take a taxi or Uber instead.
Never feel overconfident and assume nothing will happen to you when driving after drinking. Remember that alcohol impairs your judgment, so it is always best to play it safe and take a sober ride home.
5. Failing to Signal When Turning
Another common mistake drivers make is failing to signal when they are turning.
Not only is it important to signal before you turn, but you should also continue signaling until you have completed the turn. This will let other drivers know what you are doing and give them time to adjust.
Furthermore, you should always use your blinkers when changing lanes. Failing to do so can cause a rear-end collision or sideswipe accident.
If your turn signal is not working, you should get it fixed as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can use hand signals to communicate with other drivers.
6. Making an Illegal U-Turn
You might think that making a quick U-turn is no big deal, but it can actually be hazardous and lead to an accident.
That’s why most states have laws prohibiting drivers from making U-turns in certain situations, such as at intersections or highways.
If you need to make a U-turn, it is essential to do so in a safe location where other vehicles are not likely to be present. For example, you might make a U-turn in an empty parking lot or on a quiet side street.
7. Running a Red Light or Stop Sign
Running a red light or stop sign is not only illegal but also perilous.
In fact, running red lights is one of the leading causes of car accidents in many countries. Every year, approximately 700 fatalities and 100,000 injuries are caused by drivers who run red lights.
Not only do you put yourself at risk when you run a red light, but you also put other drivers and pedestrians in danger.
So, the next time you approach a stop sign or red light, make sure to come to a complete stop before proceeding.
While no one is immune to making a mistake while driving, knowing, and understanding the most common mistakes drivers make can help you avoid an accident.
Always pay attention to the road, obey traffic laws, and use caution when turning or changing lanes.
And if you find yourself in an accident, remember these steps to handle the situation as best as possible.