Only cancer and heart disease result in more deaths in the United States than in car accidents. With over six million car accidents in the U.S. per year, any time to climb in your vehicle, you are at risk. Over 100,000 of those accidents happen in Colorado alone. An automobile collision is a stressful and terrifying experience, even if no one is seriously hurt, and it comes with consequences.
While death and severe injury are the most serious, there are other obstacles to overcome, such as the cost of vehicle repairs and medical attention, negotiations with insurance companies, rising insurance rates, and sometimes lawsuits and criminal charges along with finding a good Denver car accident attorney. As a result, it is essential to understand the most common causes of car accidents in Colorado to raise awareness and ensure that you do not engage in behaviors that may lead to a car wreck.
Here are the 5 leading causes of car accidents in Colorado:
1. Distracted Driving
When driving along the interstate at 80 MPH, if you become distracted and look away from the road for five seconds, you will have traveled nearly 587 feet without proper vehicle supervision. A lot can happen in five seconds, even if you are traveling at more modest speeds. Inattentive driving is the number one reason why car accidents occur!
With the advent of more advanced technology, there are a lot of potential distractions available to most drivers at any time, most notably the cell phone; however, there are also GPS devices, radio dials, air conditioning and seat controls, music players, and any number of other mechanical and electronic devices vying for your attention.
Discounting those, chatting with passengers is also a serious cause of distracted driving, along with moving animals (or children) in the vehicle and even falling objects (such as a cell phone). Some drivers enjoy eating in the car, which can also be distracting, especially if, say, they drop mustard on their shirt or car seat or spill a drink. Others become distracted while lighting or handling cigarettes. Believe it or not, some people even prop a book on their steering wheel and read while driving!
However, distractions are not limited solely to inside the vehicle. Sometimes car accidents or other unusual incidents occur outside the car, leading to rubbernecking. This type of behavior causes more collisions than those related to passengers.
While you should always be on the lookout for other drivers that are weaving about, clearly distracted, it is also vital to ensure you are not that person. The few seconds you took to pick up a dropped object or text your mother may be your last, as well as those of passengers or children in your car and other people and pedestrians involved in the ensuing crash.
2. Inexperienced and Impaired Driving
Every day new teens earn their permits or licenses in Colorado and venture into the complicated world of driving, which includes mastering street rules and proper operation of a motor vehicle. As with anyone learning a skill, new drivers will make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are harmless; other times, they prove fatal.
The younger generations’ increased dependence on technology in a “Social Media world” compounds this risk, adding more opportunities for distracted driving and novice driving abilities. Inevitably, this leads to accidents.
Far worse are instances when a driver is half-asleep or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These situations can affect hand-eye coordination while proving a detriment to reflexes and good judgment. Some stimulants may even enhance aggressiveness, causing drivers to drive recklessly or become angry.
Speaking of anger, “road rage” is another type of impairment that can lead to increased opportunities for accidents. These drivers tend to have tunnel vision on whatever has enraged them, reducing their attention to other factors. Not to mention that they can become reckless, driving at unsafe velocities and sometimes ignoring different road rules.
In these cases, your best defense is to pay careful attention to the drivers around you and keep your distance from any cars weaving, swerving, or operating suspiciously.
Speed limits exist for a reason. Due to the laws of physics, community factors, and the nature of specific roads, these restrictions are in place to ensure the safe operation of vehicles and the safety of pedestrians. When drivers exceed these posted speeds, they risk losing control of their car or being unable to appropriately react to stimuli such as unexpected curves, other vehicles, pedestrians, children, animals, or any other dangers.
Moreover, significantly surpassing speeds on interstates leads to significant damage when there is an accident, including a more substantial risk of severe injury or death. Even if you detect a problem in advance, there may not be time to avoid it, and swerving can sometimes cause a worse accident involving more people.
4. Human Errors and Mechanical Failures
While speeding is a serious violation of Colorado traffic safety, so is a failure to comply with the basic rules of the road. People often intentionally violate these rules; other times, they may have forgotten them or were unaware of a traffic law. Sometimes when people travel to new cities, they face traffic situations that are new to them, and they can make dangerous mistakes while trying to navigate certain intersections or roads.
Whether failing to make proper turns, not using a turn signal, failing to check a blind spot, or stopping suddenly without warning, these circumstances increase the chance of a collision.
Other times, it is not the driver’s fault unless proper maintenance and vehicular upkeep are to blame. Tire issues, steering problems, engine malfunctions, or failing brakes can lead to accidents.
5. Weather Conditions
At times, the weather can lead to an increase in car accidents. Rain is the most common culprit, but snow, fog, sand, and even high winds can lead to accidents, along with any debris that may enter the roadway due to inclement weather. Driving in these conditions is unsafe, especially when traveling at higher than recommended speeds.
Many weather phenomena obscure vision, making it difficult to see other cars, people, or obstacles. Some of them make it difficult for tires to retain traction, leading to hydroplaning or skidding, especially when attempting to come to an abrupt stop.
Avoid driving in these conditions whenever possible, but if necessary, drive slowly and carefully, with an eye toward other drivers and objects that could lead to accidents.