Car crashes can be frustrating and devastating; and are prevalent in every part of the world. About 1.2 million people sadly lost their lives on a yearly basis due to horrific car crashes, as reported by the WHO. Some lose their employment and valuable properties. There could be so many consequences that result from car crashes.
Most car crashes are attributed to human error, with people driving under the alcohol or drug influence, disobeying rules, etc. Others are attributed to mechanical failure and treacherous weather conditions. Nonetheless, it is important to stay alert and vigilant at all the times. While much effort can be put in driving cautiously, you may not have control over other reckless drivers on the road. In such cases, you need to know relevant steps to hold the perpetrator accountable for the injuries sustained.
We have discussed the most common causes that can induce a car crash in this article. They are in no particular order of importance. Let’s first highlight the types of car crash and the consequences of a car crash.
Types of car crashes
There are various factors attributable to car crashes and are classified into mechanical failure, bad weather, and human error. Among these, human error is dominating the occurrence of car crashes.
Human error – this includes various offenses such as, among others, driving under the influence of substances, speeding, running red lights and stop signs, tailgating, reckless driving and technological distractions. They can be avoided by exercising extra caution whenever driving. If all people strive to minimize human error, many car crashes can be avoided.
Mechanical failure – this includes the design defects of your automobile. While it amounts to a small percentage of car crashes, it is worth considering because the crashes are enormous and horrific. Some mechanical failures can be diagnosed on time while others can happen unexpectedly. Car manufacturers can be held liable for some mechanical failures while in others owners are liable.
The common mechanical failures include the following:
- Malfunctioning brakes – if your brake pads have worn out, they may subject you to possible crashes. Imagine foreseeing a crash but failing to apply the brakes. You need to replace them on time. Usually, there are some irritating sounds on the brakes which signal the need to have them changed.
- Blown out tires – tires can blow out unforeseeable. Usually, that can be due to potholes on the roads. You have to ensure that the tires are well-maintained and well-inflated at all the times. The change in weather can also have an adverse effect on the tires as well.
- Broken taillights and headlights – these can be detrimental when driving at night. You may not be able to avoid imminent crashes or swerve from the potholes if the taillights and headlights are malfunctioning. Once the lights are broken, make a plan to replace them before they amount to crashes.
- Steering wheel problems – the steering wheel can also fail unforeseeable and thus culminate in horrible crashes. You may struggle to swerve in an attempt to avoid some crashes. Usually, it can vibrate as a symptom of an underlying failure. Consult with the mechanic to help you solve such steering problems.
Weather – the weather is also a contributing factor to the types of crashes. It can be in the form of snow, fog, heavy rains or heavy storms that impair your ability to drive safely. While you can’t always ensure that you do not drive in treacherous weather conditions, you need to be cautious at all the times.
The consequences of a car crash
There are numerous consequences of a car crash that can leave you in a dire state of mind. One can sustain a plethora of injuries some of which are extremely severe while others are mild. Moreover, you can be subjected to lawsuits, criminal offenses, or increased insurance rates.
Injuries resulting from a car crash
There is a broad range of injuries that can result from accidents and they depend on several factors which include, among others, the speed, seat belt or no seat belt, and the extent of mechanical failures. Other injuries can be treated with ease if they involve minor bruises and scratches, while others may be more severe and require a hospital stay.
Generally, the car crash injuries include severe brain damage, whiplash injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. They are explained below:
Severe brain damage – when you get involved in a car crash, the impact on your head, say you collide with the windscreen, can have an adverse effect on the functioning of the brain. The brain can move within the skull and can lead to a lifetime disability. A severe brain damage can lead to death or other related problems such memory loss impaired coordination, impaired senses, etc.
Whiplash – this indicates the injury to the soft tissues or bones around your neck. A car crash is notorious of causing whiplash injuries. The symptoms to these injuries include the headache, back pain, neck pain, ligament injury, and the stiffness of the neck. They can even extend to impaired concentration, fatigue and memory loss. An advanced physical therapy may be needed to help stabilize the neck.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – A car crash can also damage you psychologically and emotionally even if you haven’t been injured physically. The symptoms can include anxiety, nervousness, anger, fear and shock. While some may fade away with time, others can prolong if not attended to. In some cases, you may even struggle to sleep because of the traumatic disorders you are going through. Some end up living in isolation, having nightmares and losing interest in activities they used to enjoy before.
Other consequences of a car crash
As aforementioned, these include the increased insurance rates, criminal offenses, and being sued for the property damages.
Insurance rates increase – A car crash can attract an increase in insurance rates from insurance providers. It is among other factors taken into account when determining the customized insurance premiums for car owners. Once you get into a car crash, the insurance companies may anticipate the likelihood of getting into another costly car crash in future. As a result, your premiums are hiked. But this depends from one insurance company to another. With other insurance companies, you may be off the hook with just a single accident.
Criminal Offenses – It is not always that a car crash leads to a criminal offense unless you have killed someone, drove under alcohol or drug influence or drove recklessly on the road. If the crash has resulted in property damages or injuries, you can expect criminal charges with a minimum of $300. A culpable homicide or murder can carry a hefty charge.
Being sued for property damage – if you are at fault, you should get ready for a lawsuit from the victim or his/her insurance company. Some insurance companies may be willing to pay for the damages incurred by the victim. If not the case, then the driver may sue you. Others may cover certain damages and expect you to pay the difference.
10 Most Common Causes of a Car Crash
Now let’s delve into the most common causes of a car crash. These include the following:
1. Distracted driving
Distracted driving is one of the driving forces of car crashes the world over. Drivers need to stay focused to the road. Unfortunately, the emergence of technological devices such as telephones and music system are taking the toll in causing car accidents because they impair one’s concentration. You might be tempted to respond to the WhatsApp texts, answer calls or check the email notification, but a minute later find yourself bumping into another car or losing control to the side of the way. Please pay attention on the road. Eating and talking to passengers also constitute the distracted driving.
2. Drunk driving
The festive seasons are notorious for causing multitudes of car crashes due to drunk driving. The alcohol can impair your concentration and thus lead to deadly accidents. You might lose control and swerve to the oncoming traffic where you can end up causing horrific accidents. In case you drank any alcohol substance, find an alternative transport or ask a sober friend to drive you. DUI (Driving Under Influence) charges can be hefty because you are putting other drivers in danger.
3. Reckless driving
Reckless driving is also a contributing factor to car accidents. It involves changing lanes too quickly without observing the safety of other vehicles, and also involves exceeding legal speed limits and tailgating. It can also lead to horrible accidents. Even if you are a victim, in this case, stay calm and avoid retaliating to the reckless driver. Instead, inform the authorities about the situation.
It can be tempting, in the absence of traffic authorities, to exceed the speed limit because you are late for a party or for a work meeting. If anything happens, you may struggle to control the car and the injuries resulting from a speeding car can be severe. The car can be damaged beyond repair.
No matter how urgent your meeting is, life is very much important to jeopardize it by exceeding the speed limits. You will be putting the lives of other drivers in danger. Resist the temptation and stay within the stipulated limits to avoid the car crashes.
5. Unsafe lane changes
It can also be tempting to change the lanes when you realize that the other driver is driving slowly. Many accidents have resulted from unsafe lane changes. Always exercise extra caution and look sideways before making any lane change. Do not rely on mirrors only, but your judgment as well.
6. Improper turns
A considerable number of accidents have happened due to improper turns where drivers do not observe traffic signs. They end up turning into oncoming traffic because they failed to observe the correct signs. To avoid such situations, make use of your signals to signal other motorists not to bump into your car while trying to avoid the imminent crash. Always look for the signs that warn about one-way streets.
Snow is also a recipe for horrible car crashes. Although it takes time to have such occurrences of snow, it’s important to stay alert and exercise caution when it occurs. Drivers can lose control and bump into other vehicles. The car can even slip into the other lanes and then get knocked out by the oncoming vehicles. Try to reduce the speed or otherwise pull out of the way when it is safe until the condition becomes moderately better.
Fog can make it difficult to see on the road. It is possible to bump into other vehicles or not see the traffic signs explicitly during fog. You can minimize the likelihood of car crashes during fog by using the headlights even during daylight. Fog is, however, not a frequent weather occurrence.
Heavy downpour is also a recipe for car accidents on the treacherous slippery road. It can make it difficult to control the car properly especially when approaching curved roads. If you find it difficult to drive safely during the rainfall, pull out of the way and let it pass. Better to be safe than sorry.
10. Animal crossings
When driving near the deserts, it is likely that you can encounter the animals crossing the road. Hitting a mere deer can amount to serious damage to your car and injuries. Look for the traffic signs that warn you about animal crossings and then accordingly reduce the limit when passing such roads.
The solutions when a car crash occurs
When a car crash occurs, stop immediately at the scene. Put some measures to alert other motorists to avoid the scene. Then call the police to report the accident and file a claim because your insurance might need it. Even if there are no visible injuries at first, seek medical intervention because other injuries may become evident after several hours or days. While in the process of claims, you can consult your attorney to help you every step of the way.
Tips for safe driving
Below are the tips for safe driving to avoid the car crashes:
- Avoid the distractions as much as possible
- Before driving your car, assess it for any detectable mechanical failure or design defects
- Never drive under drug (legal or illegal) and alcohol influence
- Resist the urge for exceeding the speed limits
- Put seatbelts at all the times
- Always use your turn signals
- Keep your eyes on the road at the times
- Never run the red lights or stop signs
- Observe all traffic signs on the road
- Drive cautiously during inclement weather conditions
- Keep enough space equal to one car behind any vehicle on the road
- Avoid reckless driving such as improper lane changes or tailgating
- Get enough rest to avoid driver fatigue
Car crashes happen almost daily in all parts of the world. While some, such as mechanical failure and weather-caused crashes can be hard to prevent, you can play an important part in reducing human error accidents. Always exercise extra caution when driving. Avoid all the common causes we have highlighted above.