Traffic Accidents, What Causes Them?

Traffic Accidents

What Causes Traffic Accidents?

You can easily come up with hundreds of answers to the question of what causes traffic accidents. The world is an unpredictable place and we have yet to be able to see the future, so we don’t know when a car might suddenly fail us on the road or when a tree may fall in front of us. As such, it is not only wise but important that we focus on what we can control when it comes to preventing accidents. The biggest factor in the occurrence of accidents, by far, is what we can control. That factor is driver error. So the more realistic question becomes not what, but rather who, causes accidents: people do.

Driver error stems from one or a combination of three major causes:

  1. Failure to pay attention
  2. Exceeding performance capabilities
  3. Unsafe behaviors

To Pay Attention or Not to Pay Attention, That is the Question

Failing to pay attention in class may never come back to haunt you. Not paying attention to your significant other may have landed you in hot water, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a sincere apology. Not paying attention on the road, however, is a lot harder to fix if something bad happens as a result.  Whether you are day dreaming or, especially nowadays,  texting and driving, more and more drivers choose to divide their attention with some of it going to the road and some of it going elsewhere. When operating a 2,000-pound metal machine traveling at great speeds, it sounds intuitive that paying attention should be of utmost importance for drivers, yet often times that’s not the case.

Preparation Makes Perfect

Exceeding performance capabilities is an easily visible cause of accidents. Drivers who are unfit or ill-prepared to drive certain vehicles, yet do so anyways, have a much higher chance to get into an accident. Drivers who think they can drive in adverse weather conditions without adjusting their driving behavior often find themselves going into a ditch or into the rear bumper of the car in front of them. Even if you think you’ve mastered the art of driving in the rain or snow, you can’t predict how drivers around you will react.

Exceeding Capabilities

In truth, it’s not the fog or rain or snow or ice that causes an accident. All are products of nature. By choosing to drive in such conditions, the responsibility to drive safely falls squarely on us. Another common example of this is when a driver, who has only driven sedans, decides to rent and drive a large moving truck. You don’t have to think for very long to come up with what issues might arise from this situation.

It’s Safe to Say, Unsafe Behaviors Lead to Unsafe Results

Lastly, unsafe behaviors cause accidents. Driving while trying to read a text, eating while driving, speeding and driving while under the influence are all examples of unsafe behaviors that can lead to accidents. Nothing bad might happen the first time you drink and drive and maybe the second or third time you get home just fine. The fourth time, however, something does happen and that follows you for the rest of your life. With unsafe driving behaviors, it’s not a matter of if you’ll get into an accident, but when. Practicing unsafe behaviors is something we choose to do. No one forces us to speed or text a friend. We make that decision to act in unsafe ways.

Magic Unicorn?

We can never completely eliminate traffic accidents.  It would be naive to think otherwise. But, by being aware and actively seeking to avoid the major causes of accidents, we can reduce unsafe behaviors. Being self-aware and understanding the importance of maintaining focus on the road, avoiding situations that are beyond our driving abilities and eliminating our own unsafe behaviors can only serve to greatly lessen the chance of getting into an accident and make us much safer drivers. People cause accidents and the sooner we accept that, the sooner we can work to prevent those accidents.