According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 90 fatalities occur due to car accidents on American roads every day. In addition to the drivers and passengers who lose their lives in such accidents, many more are left with lifelong injuries, chronic pain, or serious disabilities. Here’s a look at some of the most common causes of fatal car accidents, how drivers can protect themselves, and how victims can seek legal help and compensation in the event of a crash.

Distracted Driving

A sedan crushed on one side

Distracted driving is the number-one cause of fatal car accidents. Any number of distractions can draw a driver’s attention away from the road long enough to cause an accident, and it can happen in the blink of an eye. When drivers make a seemingly harmless decision like responding to a cell phone message, interacting with passengers, fidgeting with the car’s dials, or reaching for something on the floor or in the back seat, they are putting themselves and everyone else on the road around them at grave risk. The more distracted the driver, the easier it is to run a stop sign or red light, strike a pedestrian, rear-end another vehicle or cross the center line into oncoming traffic.

Reckless Driving

Another significant cause of fatal accidents is reckless driving, which generally involves drivers who endanger themselves and others by intentionally breaking traffic laws. Violations that lead to accidents often include speeding, failing to use turn signals, refusing to stop for stop signs and red lights, and failing to yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and pedestrians. Reckless driving may also be more extreme in some cases, such as when drivers race other vehicles or attempt to flee law enforcement. Road rage can also be a significant factor in auto accidents resulting from reckless driving.

Impaired Driving

News stories about fatal car accidents due to drunk driving are all too common. Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, and certain prescription medications have slower reaction times, make poor decisions, and become unable to maneuver a vehicle properly and safely. Drivers on the road who are excessively tired or emotionally upset can also be considered impaired, as their reaction times and decisions can be influenced by their mental state. Impaired driving is a major factor in single-car accidents, but it can also result in secondary car accidents that seriously injure or kill others on the road.

Driving Under Hazardous Road Conditions

Taking to the roads at night requires extra safety precautions due to lower levels of light, as well as a higher risk of encountering tired drivers or drivers under the influence. Hazardous road conditions can also make driving more challenging, and obstacles such as heavy rain, snow, ice, and fog can impair even a cautious driver’s vision and cause a deadly accident. Other hazards that can prove fatal include construction areas, stalled vehicles, inadequate road and bridge maintenance, fallen trees and stones, as well as vehicle debris.

Tips for Staying Safe

Drivers can do a lot themselves to stay safe on the road, but there is always the chance that the unexpected will happen, especially when it comes to other drivers who may be less responsible or attentive. In addition to avoiding all distractions, following all traffic laws, paying close attention to the weather and other potential road hazards, and refraining from driving while impaired, it’s also critical to keep a watchful eye on other drivers. Look for signs that they may be impaired, and keep a generous distance from cars traveling at excessive speeds or in any illegal manner. It’s important to be mindful of pedestrians, too, especially in more urban areas with lots of foot traffic. And, as always, properly wearing a seatbelt can make a life-or-death difference in the event of a car accident.

Seeking Legal Assistance After an Accident

Major accidents are traumatic experiences for everyone involved, but it’s important to remain calm and gather as much information about the incident as possible. Take photos, exchange information with the other drivers, retain all police reports, and obtain copies of all medical documents and expenses. These will be critically important when you hire a car accident lawyer, who will need these documents to assess your case thoroughly and pursue the best possible results. Regardless of the severity or type of accident you have experienced, a knowledgeable attorney can help to protect your rights and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

How the Leav & Steinberg Team Can Help

A qualified car accident lawyer must know the law from top to bottom and also provide compassionate, personalized service to you and your loved ones in a difficult time. Our dedicated team at Leav & Steinberg LLP treats every case with the attention it deserves, using our years of experience in New York City law to help you recover after a serious accident and seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a car accident, don’t wait. Contact us today to request a free consultation by filling out our online form or calling 347-960-2422.