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Car accidents can happen anytime, anywhere and for any reason. Even defensive drivers can get into an accident. After all, you can’t control other drivers’ actions.
Knowing what to expect and what to do in an accident can help you prepare for one. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about accidents.
1. Most Accidents Happen in Parking Lots
Most people assume that the majority of car accidents happen on highways, but the majority of collisions occur in parking lots. And most car crashes occur just 3 miles from home.
Parking lots tend to have poor signage and a large number of cars in a confined space. They’re also making dangerous maneuvers, like backing out of parking spaces, making tight turns and entering roadways.
When accidents occur in parking lots, it’s often difficult to determine who is at fault. Although parking lots are typically considered private property, drivers can still get traffic tickets for not adhering to stop signs, getting into accidents and speeding.
2. Car Accidents are a Leading Cause of Death
According to the CDC, car accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. In Illinois alone, car accidents caused 1,017 fatalities in 2016. More than 35,000 people died from car crashes in 2015 throughout the United States. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among people aged 15-29.
The most common causes of car accidents are distractions, environmental conditions, fatigue, emotional impairment and medical impairment.
3. Drivers Can Still be Considered ‘At Fault’ for an Accident, Even if They Aren’t Fined
Drivers may still be found to be at fault for an accident, even if they aren’t given a ticket. Police departments and insurance companies have different criteria for determining fault in accidents.
In cases where weather or extenuating circumstances is the cause of the accident, the police may not give either driver a citation.
If a driver is deemed at-fault by the insurance company, that doesn’t mean that the driver should or will be charged by the police. Insurance companies are simply assigning responsibility for the incident for the purpose of determining financial responsibility.
4. Car Accidents are the Most Common Type of Personal Injury
Car accidents ae the most common type of personal injury in the United States. Accidents involving injuries occur every 14 seconds.
Injuries and impacts can occur at any speed – even below 10 miles per hour. Frontal collisions often cause dislocations, concussions and internal injuries. Rear collisions, commonly caused by distracted drivers, often cause injuries to the neck, head and spine.
5. Distracted Driving is a Leading Cause of Accidents
Distracted driving is responsible for about 25% of accident fatalities. Cell phone use is the most well-known distraction, but drivers can be distracted by other things, including:
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to other occupants
- Moving objects
- Adjusting the radio or climate controls
- Lost in thought
General distraction, or getting lost in thought, is actually the most common distraction – responsible for 62% of distracted-related accidents. Cell phone use is the second most common distraction, accounting for 12% of distracted-related accidents.
Ryan Yarbrough is a small business consultant, speaker, and the manager at Davis Financial Services, a small business consulting firm.