According to the NHTSA, California is one of the most unsafe states for U.S. drivers – with 2791 car accident deaths in 2011. Like any other large city in California, San Diego has its share of auto accidents. The majority of car accidents in California occur in urban areas and San Diego had 63 fatal car accidents in 2011, 17 of which were caused by drunk drivers. While most car accidents are not serious, many of them do result in serious injuries, fractures, head trauma, or even fatalities.
No one gets in their car in the morning and thinks “Hey, today would be a great day for me to get into a car accident.” Getting into a car accident can lead to several unwanted consequences, including permanent injuries, loss of wages, and just plain inconvenience. That is why it is important for you to understand the causes of car accidents and learn the preventative measures for automobile accidents.
The top causes of car accidents include speeding, weather, drunk driving, fatigue, and distraction. Other causes of car accidents include improper turns, bad merging, and drifting out of your lane. With that said, this means that you could potentially be in a car accident if you are near:
- A driver that is late for work and speeding to make up time
- A drunk driver leaving a party
- A sleepy driver operating a vehicle late during the late night hours
- A distracted driver talking or texting on their cell phone
- A driver making a left turn on a red light
- A driver who merges without checking their rear-view mirror
- A driver who has a tendency to drift in and out of lanes
The truth is: no matter how safe of a driver you may be, chances are you will probably get into a car accident at some time in your life – especially in California. It is very important to know what necessary steps to take when or if an accident does occur. The following is a list of the basic steps:
- Check On Each Other
- Notify Proper Authorities
- Put Out Hazard Signs
- Exchange Information
- Take Photos
- Determine Whether You Need A Tow
Also, keep in mind that rain can make driving on roads much more dangerous. Making a sudden stop or trying to avoid a collision with another vehicle can have negative repercussions on wet road compared to dry road. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), auto accidents tend to increase by more than 200% in rain – motorists do not alter their normal day-to-day driving habits while the roads are wet, leading to more accidents. All drivers need to remember to drive slower and to change quick driving behavior during rainy weather and after the rain has stopped.
One last thing that is important for you to know is that there are common factors that promote collisions on unsafe roads. These conditions may result from the design, construction or maintenance of a street or highway including:
- Lack of guardrails or barriers along road drop-offs
- Poor placement of utility poles
- Improper or missing signage warning of road hazards like dangerous curves
- Failure to install median divider
- Not repairing potholes
- Failing to repair malfunctioning traffic signals
- Roadways designed with poor visibility near intersection and curves
- Unsafe road construction zones
California is a wonderful place with beautiful sights and people, but it is notoriously one of the most unsafe states to drive in. However, by driving with care, you can be safe in Cali as well.
Image via Flickr by Ken Lund