A fatal motor vehicle accident is one of the most tragic moments in many people’s lives, and one question that crosses many minds of those left behind by the victims of a car crash is “why?” So many questions, so much hindsight, so much confusion, sadness, and fear in place of the person that was once there. Understanding the reasons for why fatal motor vehicle accidents is deeply important, as learning what causes them primarily assists in ensuring that they occur less in the future.
Determining the primary cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents
There is a large number of causes of motor vehicle accidents, some being more responsible than others. Some of these problems are the result of incidents that are, for the most part, completely out of your control; for instance, if you have another driver who is harassing you on the road, or if the weather is inclement and preventing you from driving safely. The latter is especially a problem for drivers who encounter weather they are not used to. A snowstorm in Texas is a lot more dangerous for drivers than a snowstorm in Minnesota, because Minnesotans are used to it while for Texans it is a bizarre rarity. Falling asleep behind the wheel is also a common cause, and gosh is it ever dangerous. The moment you fall asleep in your vehicle is the moment that you lose control of it. And if the jerking motion of the car doesn’t wake you up, you may find yourself in a pretty nasty accident. So make sure that when you’re on the road that you have an adequate amount of rest under your belt. It’s just good advice in general to rest up, let alone when it’s your life and the lives of others on the line.
Other causes of a fatal accident are not nearly as ‘innocent’ as these, however. Another common cause is aggressive driving. And I mean, we get it — driving can be a pretty frustrating experience, what with people cutting you off, or even behaving in an aggressive fashion towards you or others on the road. But one should avoid acting on that frustration, as no one benefits from it at all, no matter how bold you may want to be driving. Again, good advice in general, but great advice when lives are potentially on the line. It can even lead to escalated situations with you and other drivers potentially getting into an altercation that can quickly get rather fatal. Another instance, and one that is dangerously irresponsible to do, is when drivers drive while under the influence. Doesn’t matter if it is alcohol or a controlled substance, either one is going to make it difficult to operate a vehicle. With reduced reaction times, reduced inhibitions, and reduced awareness, your mode of transportation suddenly becomes a fast track to you or someone else sustaining major injuries or even passing away. If someone ever thinks to drive while under the influence, think again. Either avoid the substances, or make sure you have a designated driver or can call an Uber to get back home.
Even more common than driving under the influence, however, is speeding. Simply put, everybody has a place they are trying to get to, and some — well, many — need to get there in a hurry. Sometimes it’s for innocent reasons; went a few miles over without realizing it, going above the speed limit due to an emergency, etc., but in general, people speed because they view the lost time from not speeding as a waste. Some people even have the erroneous conclusion that speeding saves money, claiming that the faster you drive, the less gas you use. However, this is simply not true; in fact, the slower you drive, the more money you save. Speeding makes it that much more difficult to react to sudden, unexpected occurrences on the road, and it makes you less likely to react to inclement weather. The faster a person is driving, the more damage will be incurred from the accident, and the more likely that this accident will become fatal.
In reality, though, nothing compares to the number one cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents: distracted driving; 1000 people a day are injured from distracted driving, and nine a day die from it. The unfortunate thing is that drivers think they are way better at driving than they actually are. It’s kind of like the Dunning-Kruger effect: they know how to drive, and so they think that they are the best drivers out there. This then leads to them talking on the phone, or worse yet, texting while driving. But distracted driving is not just defined by the most extreme things like you’ll see in a comedy skit; rather, it can be something as simple as fiddling with the radio, taking a drink, having a bite of a burger, or even checking out the billboards on the road. So before you start driving, make sure that you have the station set where you want it to be, and commit to that. Be very careful and sparing with your food and beverage consumption too.