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The Most Common Causes Of Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Despite the fact that the UK’s roads are amongst the safest in the world, unfortunately they are not without their perils.

Car accidents happen every single day and the majority of these road crashes are caused by human error. While some are relatively minor, thousands of lives are taken every year by horrible car crashes, that in a lot of cases are avoidable.

To help avoid being involved in one, it is important to understand some common causes of accidents and how they can be prevented. Sometimes it’s just as simple as being aware of the causes of most road accidents, which can keep you more alert and on guard.

Here is a list of five common causes of car accidents in the UK and some tips that every driver can follow to help avoid them.

Top Causes of Car Accidents in the UK

1. Drivers failing to look properly

This sounds like a bit of a silly point to be writing down but it’s the number one reason for causing an accident on our roads in the UK. A Department for Transport report released at the end of 2012 revealed that 42% of all crashes studied involved drivers simply ‘failing to look properly.’

Essentially if we took more time to look properly at where we are going while driving, and what other drivers are doing then over a third of road accidents would be avoided.

It should be the easiest cause of accidents to prevent, however there are many reasons behind it.

Distracted driving is one of the reasons drivers fail to look properly. Calls, texting, playing around with radio stations, talking to a friend in the passenger seat, eating, looking in the mirror at your hair, trying to stop your kids from fighting in the back seats…(we could go on)

This is why the new mobile phone driving laws kicked in with huge fines for people being on their phone while behind the wheel, because it has become a massive contributor to road accidents.

Please pay attention to the road while you are driving.

Tiredness is another reason for not looking properly, as it can have a dramatic impact on a driver’s awareness and reaction speed.

Some accidents are also caused by driver complacency, familiarity with the route, or even laziness.

A recent study conducted by Progressive Insurance found that 52 percent of accidents happened within five miles of a driver’s home. The higher number of short trips than long ones is part of it; familiarity and lack of concentration the rest.

2. Speeding

Unsurprisingly, speed is one of the major causes of road traffic accidents in the UK.

Many motorists are guilty of driving over the speed limit, even if it’s doing 40mph in a 30mph zone or going up to 80mph on the motorway – speeding is speeding. Drivers often speed without realising they are doing so too, despite being aware of the risks.

The faster you drive the less time you have to react – giving you less time to prevent a serious accident from happening.

3. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs

Drink driving is one of the most highly publicised causes of road accidents.

Despite frequent campaigns and heavier penalties, drunk drivers are still a major cause of road traffic accidents and related injuries. Although drink driving accidents have reduced in number considerably over the past three decades, statistics show that it’s still the cause of over a tenth of annual road deaths.

Whilst there is a legal limit for alcohol intake when driving, its effects on the body differ from person to person. The best solution is just to not drink at all when you know you’ve got to drive.

4. Poor weather Conditions

Road traffic accidents happen in all sorts of weather conditions however unsurprisingly adverse weather conditions such as fog, snow, heavy rain, sleet, ice and high winds, often cause fatal motor vehicle crashes.

It is important to take precautions when driving in bad weather. Usually, it is those who speed or drive dangerously in poor weather conditions that cause the accidents.

5. Dangerous or Careless Driving

Dangerous driving is a serious driving offence, more serious than distracted driving.

Additionally, the offence usually results in a hefty fine, being disqualified and a potential 14-year prison sentence.

Changing lanes too quickly, speeding well over the limit, driving through red traffic lights and acting aggressive on the roads can inevitably lead to bad car accidents. It is important to take your time and remain calm while driving to avoid needless accidents caused by simple carelessness.

It’s great to see that driving tests, especially the latest version, are becoming more difficult in an attempt to increase road safety and reduce the number of traffic accidents (particularly among young drivers).

How to avoid car accidents

Driving requires the utmost concentration and it’s often when people take this for granted that car accidents start to happen.

The simplest solution to avoid all of these common car accidents, is to be alert and vigilant.

If you’re feeling tired, then always take a break. If you become distracted, do not drive until your focus returns, always drive carefully and with caution, leave your phone alone, stick to the speed limits and don’t drink drive.

Overall, you must do everything in your power to stay safe.


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