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What’s to Blame for Nearly Every Car Crash? The Answer Is Both Scary and Relieving

Cellphones are the new face of evil when it comes to one of the leading causes of car accidents. From texting while driving, taking phone calls, and using the phone’s GPS navigation, many accidents are caused by people shifting their concentration from a 2,000 pound moving vehicle to a five inch screen for a few seconds.

When it comes to car accidents, however, it is not the phone that is to blame—it is the person holding that phone. The same hold true for nearly every accident you see on the roads—regardless of weather or road conditions, it is generally poor judgment on the part of the driver that lead to the accident in question.

While this thought is scary, it is also somewhat comforting. Human error is much easier to control than bad luck or fate, which is what many people blame for terrible wrecks. While you cannot control the decisions and mistakes of other drivers, you can take charge of your own behavior on the roads by avoiding these common mistakes:

  • Driving while especially tired. Many studies have shown that sleepiness affects a person’s reaction times and cognitive abilities, very similar to the effects of alcohol impairment.
  • Driving at night. Not only are people usually more easily fatigued at night, but visibility is often poor. Night vision, even with your car’s headlights, is very different than your vision during the day, and your depth perception—arguably the most important part of driving—is significantly impacted.
  • Rubbernecking at other accidents. Secondary crashes are a serious problem for law enforcement and transportation officials. After a crash, many drivers become distracted as they approach the wreck and lose focus to check out what is happening on the scene. This can lead to other crashes nearby, known as secondary crashes.
  • Improper maintenance. We have all seen that car—driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour on their car’s “donut” spare, only meant to be driven a few miles at maximum speeds of 35 mph. Or the person who has ignored their mushy brakes, bald tires, or cracked windshield only to find that the problem has suddenly imploded while driving.

While there will always be others who put everyone around them at risk with their poor judgment and inattention to safety, make 2015 your year to commit to making good choices behind the wheel of your car!

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