Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the US and across the globe. A car accident happens when there is a collision between an automobile, pedestrian, another car, rubble on the road, an animal, or an immobile obstacle such as an electricity pole, tree, road debris, animal, and another vehicle. Car accidents often lead to property destruction, death, and injury (Wells, 2007). The traffic collision occurs due to various factors, notably speeding, the conduct of the driver, influence of drugs and alcohol, driver skill level, road conditions, road design, and vehicle design among others. The traffic collision results in loss of lives, disability, and economic costs to either victims or society involved. Death rate attributed to road accidents increased significantly in 2013 (1.4 million) compared to that recorded in 1990 (1.1 million.), with approximately 68000 deaths documented in infants in 2013 (World Health Organization, 2013). Drivers’ destructive actions such as illegal lane changes, tailgating, and car malfunction may lead to traffic accidents. Road accidents have consequences depending on variables such as lack of air bags and safety belts for passengers, the number of cars involved, and the impact. Driving is a risky undertaking because of the possibility of human errors; therefore, for car accidents to be avoided, drivers should exercise vigilance while on the road and take into consideration causes of road accidents.
The first cause of car accidents is human error. Accidents have occurred since the invention of the first car due to careless drivers (Bartley, 2008). Unfortunately, people can only regulate their actions but not those of other drivers next to them. The first source of human error in the driving environment is distracted driving. Some cases of human blunder include distraction while driving because of many technological gadgets brought and built directly into vehicles, such as DVD players and mobile phones (Bartley, 2008). Other distractions include eating, kids, and women applying makeup. In the current generation, every individual wants to multitask, and it has been exaggerated even behind the wheel, leading to the increase in traffic accidents. In the year 2008, almost all road accidents were a result of teenage drivers and distraction, says National Highway Transport Safety Administration (Bartley, 2008). Another human blunder causing accidents is driving under drugs and alcohol influence. The majority of drivers makes this choice; therefore, putting them at higher risk of road accidents. The medical condition is yet another factor contributing to human error. Fatal accidents have occurred because of the driver’s medical condition. Various conditions such as falling asleep at the wheel, heart attacks, strokes, and seizures cause serious accidents. It is advisable for any driver to rule out any medical condition before driving even though it is often uncontrollable. Finding another driver is the best solution in case one does not feel fine. Driving on unfamiliar roads also leads to traffic accidents. It is difficult to drive faster or bend on roads with which the driver is not familiar, resulting in the driver not knowing the rules of that road, hence enhancing the risk of an accident.
Mechanical failure is another cause of traffic accidents. Cars undergo mechanical failures due to various reasons (Kim, Kim, & Son, 2006). Particularly, inadequate vehicle maintenance is the leading cause of mechanical failure contributing to accidents. Lack of routine maintenance of a car such as repairing bad brakes, broken tie rods, and bald tires can lead to an accident (Kim et al., 2006). It will be unfortunate to plan a journey only to realize that the brakes are not functional. Hence, timely car attendance is advisable to avoid such situations. On the other hand, an individual may drive around with squealing brakes for a while. Thus, when a distant journey occurs, the brakes fail completely (Kim et al., 2006). The car owner is to be blamed for such problems; therefore, it still amounts to human error. Another example of mechanical failure includes manufacturer malfunction. Although the occurrence is rare, accidents have happened because of poor manufacturing of vehicles (Bartley, 2008). Automakers release recalls when they identify problems but usually, it happens when various accidents have transpired. Car owners are recommended to be aware of recalls by companies to return their vehicle for repair immediately. Another mechanical failure includes faulty traffic lights. Road accidents occur highly on roads with faulty traffic lights, especially during the night, compared to those with well-equipped traffic lights (Bartley, 2008). A driver on unfamiliar roads with damaged traffic lights will not be able to see ahead and may run through an intersection.
Weather-related factors are another cause of car accidents. When an accident occurs due to bad weather, the driver will still be held responsible when making claims to a single car insurance (Bartley, 2008). Drivers encounter problems during excessive rains, dense fog, high winds, and slick roads that may lead to serious accidents. The driver may lose clear visibility of the road and misjudge the distance apart with the oncoming vehicle. It is difficult for a driver driving too fast to stop when nearing an oncoming vehicle on a road with thick fog. Bad weather such as ice storms makes roads slippery, hence making it impossible for a vehicle to come to a stop completely.
Animals may also cause accidents since they lack an understanding of the risk of crossing the road (Bartley, 2008). For instance, a deer may run across fast and may even run directly into the side of one's vehicle. Accidents caused by such animals have become common. Animals become dangerous on the roads because it is difficult to predict their actions. Approximately half a million accidents caused by animals occur yearly, leading to thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths (Bartley, 2008). In addition, these deer-auto collisions result in 200 human deaths and damaging property worth 1.1 billion dollars annually. Efforts by drivers, insurance companies, and federal and state governments to reduce accidents caused by animals consumes 3 billion dollars.