In 2015 alone, 246,335 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes in the state of Texas. The Texas Department of Transportation found that there were 13,616 crashes that led to serious injury and 17,011 total people who suffered serious injuries. They also did the math to determine that, for the year 2015:
- 1 person was killed every 2 hours and 29 minutes
- 1 person was injured every 2 minutes and 8 seconds
- 1 crash occurred every 61 seconds
While you may think of a fatal car crash as a rare occurrence that isn’t likely to happen to you, car crashes happen about once per minute every single day. On top of that, someone is injured in a car crash about every two minutes. You never know when that person could be you.
So, what typically causes these car accidents?
The 5 Leading Causes of Car Accidents
The Texas Department of Transportation also conducted a study on the leading causes of car accidents in 2015. They gathered information on both rural and urban crashes, and found these to be the five leading causes of car crashes statewide (and the number of crashes they caused):
- Speeding – 136,383 accidents
- Not paying attention – 94,876 accidents
- Swerving in and out of lanes – 36,238 accidents
- Merging when unsafe – 34,157 crashes
- Failing to yield when turning left – 30,741 accidents
That second one is scary to think about. Nearly 100,000 crashes — in Texas alone — were caused simply because a driver was distracted.
Being in a car accident isn’t something that people enjoy. They can be injured, they can damage (or even total) their car, their insurance rates can go up, and they can potentially injure or kill another person. What can do you to try and avoid these situations?
Top Tips for Preventing a Car Accident
Many drivers associate car accidents with DUIs or intentionally unsafe driving habits, but the data above shows that distracted driving is regularly cited as the cause of car accidents in Texas. To protect yourself, your car, and the people around you, these four tips can make all the difference:
- When driving on the highway, stay in the right lane unless you are passing a car in front of you. A recent study found that cars in the left lane can cause accidents simply because they force other drivers to quickly slow down (which causes more accidents than the driver speeding through an empty left lane).
- It may sound like old news at this point, but one of the most important steps you can take is to stay off your phone while driving. We all know that this includes texting, but it also includes browsing social media, taking pictures, checking apps, and even having conversations on the phone.
- One of the best things you can do is simply be aware of the driving behavior around you. If someone else is being a distracted driver, you can avoid a collision by paying attention to how they’re driving and acting accordingly. Be aware of cars who swerve in and out of lanes, drive extra carefully in inclement weather, and be prepared for sudden stops to avoid a crash.
- Enroll in our Texas defensive driving course, which you can take online or in a classroom. This is a popular method for individuals looking to remove tickets from their record, but it can also help you learn tips for safer driving in a fun, comedic setting. Taking this class can even reduce your insurance rates. Who doesn’t want that?
By following these tips, you can protect yourself (and your car) even when other drivers are being careless.