Traffic accidents kill thousands of people in the United States each year, taking the lives of men and women, young and old and both experienced and inexperienced drivers. The Insurance Information Institute reports that more than 35,000 individuals died in traffic accidents in 2019, with fatal SUV and large truck wrecks increasing from the previous year.
Bad weather and other dangerous driving conditions often cause these accidents; however, there are several actions many drivers take that can result in the loss of life.
Drivers who exceed the speed limit on both highways and rural roads increase the risk of dying in an accident. Higher speeds mean drivers do not have as much control over their vehicle as they would when traveling at normal speeds. The risk of death increases when there are other factors involved, including:
- Heavy highway traffic
- Foul weather/low visibility
- Deliberate reckless behavior or racing
Drivers who speed also limit braking time, which can cause a fatal rear-end crash if they cannot stop their vehicle in time to avoid a collision.
Driving drunk or drugged
Even over-the-counter or prescription drugs can impair driver judgment, and alcohol can destroy it completely. Those who drive under the influence often find their sense of time and perspective altered, which causes them to misjudge the flow of traffic or how safely they can make a turn. Drivers who take daily medication may want to ask their doctor how a new prescription might affect them and if it might affect their ability to drive.
While traffic deaths tend to spike during the summer, fatal accidents may happen at any time because of poor or reckless driving. Drivers can reduce this risk by obeying all rules of the road and driving defensively.