One of the most important skills a new driver learns is situational awareness. Defensive driving requires you to be aware of potential danger from every possible angle around your vehicle. Doing so can help you avoid costly or even deadly accidents.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to see every hazard coming at you. Even the hazards you see may not be possible to avoid. Not every accident results in serious injury, but certain accidents are more likely to be life-altering at best and fatal at worst.
Taking your role seriously
If you are a conscientious driver, you probably take every precaution to protect yourself when you drive. You wear your seatbelt, make sure you are well rested before driving and never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. You keep your speed under the posted limit, and you leave your cell phone out of sight while you drive. Sadly, you share the road with too many drivers who do not take their responsibilities seriously.
Increased chances of death
Some statistics rank distracted driving as the number one cause of fatal accidents in California and across the country. Distractions can be anything that takes your attention from operating the vehicle, such as eating and drinking, adjusting the temperature or radio, conversing with others in the vehicle, and of course, using your cell phone. Distraction can be the underlying cause of any of these commonly fatal accidents:
- T-bone: The front of one vehicle strikes the side of the other vehicle.
- Rear-end collisions: A driver behind you is unable to stop in time to avoid hitting your vehicle.
- Chain-reaction accidents: Multiple vehicles collide when they are unable to stop for an initial accident.
- Head-on crashes: One vehicle crosses into the lane of another, and the two collide straight into each other.
Head-on collisions are typically the deadliest type of accident. They result in 10 percent of all traffic fatalities while making up only 2 percent of all motor vehicle accidents.
Other factors raising the risk
Of course, the risk of suffering catastrophic injuries or losing a loved one in any of these types of accidents is exponentially higher if a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle is involved. Additionally, the higher the speed of the vehicles involved, the greater the chances of more serious injury.
Auto manufacturers continue to improve the safety features in vehicles. You can also do your part by abiding by the rules of safety and common sense. Unfortunately, new technology and your best efforts cannot always compensate for the dangers of a reckless or negligent driver you may encounter in your travels.