Tragic and often preventable, fatal auto accidents are a significant public safety concern. Rates of auto accident deaths are rising across the U.S., including in Alabama.
Understanding the common causes of these accidents can help raise awareness and prevention.
Common distracted driving activities include texting, talking on the phone, eating and adjusting the radio. These distractions divert a driver’s attention from the road, leading to accidents with devastating consequences.
Excessive speed significantly increases the likelihood of fatal accidents. Speed limits keep drivers and pedestrians safe. When drivers exceed these limits, their reaction times decrease and the severity of accident damage escalates.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a common cause of fatal auto accidents. Impaired drivers exhibit reduced coordination, impaired judgment and slower reaction times, making them a danger to themselves and others on the road.
Reckless driving encompasses aggressive behaviors like tailgating, weaving between lanes and disregarding traffic signals. Such actions put drivers, passengers and pedestrians at risk and can lead to deadly collisions.
Weather and road conditions
Inclement weather such as rain and fog reduces visibility and creates hazardous road conditions. Drivers must adjust their speed and driving behavior to match the weather to avoid serious accidents.
Neglected roadways can contribute to fatal accidents. Potholes, debris and inadequate signage create sudden and unexpected hazards.
Tired driving can be as dangerous as impaired driving. Drowsy drivers experience moments of inattention and delayed reactions, increasing the risk of accidents.
Lack of seat belt use
Wearing a seat belt significantly decreases the risk of fatal injury in accidents. Seat belts are one of the most effective safety measures available to drivers and passengers.
According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, the state averages an auto accident death about every 9 hours. Awareness of the underlying causes can reduce this staggering rate of traffic-related fatalities.