Traffic accidents are an unfortunate part of the increasing traffic on the roads. Leading to injuries, fatalities and economic loss, the age-old questions of ‘What causes a road accident?’ and ‘How can we prevent them?’ remain.
Although I don’t have a definitive answer for you, some common trends linked to traffic accidents are worth highlighting due to their preventable nature.
Obvious Causes of Traffic Accidents
Before looking at emerging trends, it is worth pointing out some of the most common ways traffic accidents occur. Although many of these may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how often they are at the root of an incident.
- Speeding. Excessive speed remains a leading cause of traffic accidents. When speeding, your reaction times are slowed, making it harder to stop if you have to. Despite obvious signage and speed limits, too many drivers still push the boundaries, leading to unnecessary accidents.
- Distracted Drivers. This is a common reason for accidents, especially with increased social media and phone usage. More often than not, drivers will misjudge their capabilities and try to multitask while driving. Their focus is taken off the road, leading to an accident. Distraction doesn’t just take the form of doing something else; many accidents also occur when drivers focus on the radio or a heated conversation. Any distraction is dangerous.
- Drunk Driving. Have you ever been out with friends and heard someone say, “I’ll be fine to drive; I’ve only had one”? Well, you should never be driving when you’ve had a drink, no matter how you feel. Even if you feel as though the alcohol hasn’t affected you, it is in your system and, therefore, will have had an impact on your reactions and judgement. Despite lots of public campaigns warning about the risks of drunk driving, an overwhelming number of accidents are still caused by drivers over the limit.
- Aggressive Driving. This is a cause that people tend not to think about. However, an angry person and a car are the most dangerous combination. If an individual gets behind the wheel when they are angry or upset about something, it is more likely to end badly.
Emerging Trends in Traffic Accidents
Now that we’ve covered some of the more well-known causes of traffic accidents let’s look at a few more unusual trends. In prior years, nearly one third of these accidents being rear end collisions; nowadays, those statistics are changing.
- Electric Vehicles. We’re all aware of the move towards more electric cars, vans and bikes. Ultimately, it is a great way to cut fuel consumption and focus on saving the planet. However, electric vehicles in recent years have become the cause of more traffic accidents. This may be because they’re still new, but there have also been cases of engines combusting and pedestrians getting run over due to the electric engine’s limited noise.
- Ride-Sharing Platforms. Again, this is another new one. With the increase of apps such as ‘Uber’ and ‘Bolt’ more traffic accidents are occurring when people are getting a lift from a third party. This may be because they add to congestion or are focused on getting customers to a destination as quickly as possible, but more likely, we are seeing an increase due to the rise in demand for these services.
- With the population constantly increasing, we are seeing more traffic accidents related to congestion emerging. This could be due to too many people travelling at peak times or sometimes simply the road not being designed for as much traffic.
Obviously, not all traffic accidents can be prevented. Sometimes, it is simply bad luck or the fault of another driver. However, there are things you can do and solutions being worked on to help decrease the amount of traffic accidents.
Many vehicles now come with added technology such as cruise control, speed limiters, and automated emergency brakes, which, when used properly, can help drivers avoid collisions.
In addition, many drivers are more clued up on the dangers of reckless driving due to increased campaigns, especially on social media. If more people are aware of the risks, the rate of accidents should decrease statistically.
Finally, a lot of road development is happening to improve road surfaces and busy areas prone to congestion.
Traffic accidents are not always preventable. However, by knowing the common reasons accidents occur, drivers can ensure they are only getting in a care when they feel safe to drive and being cautious behind the wheel.