Car Accidents: Explaining Those Statistics

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Admit it, you want to know the stats just as much as the next guy. It doesn’t matter how grim the subject, such kind of data still amazes us. And it does get quite interesting! We will tell you all about what kind of people get into car accidents the most, what cars they drive, and more!

You should keep in mind, however, that after all the data is only that – statistics. Number-crunching itself doesn’t predict the future; it only summarizes the past. But the numbers are still interesting!

Car Accidents: Explaining Those Statistics

Before we get into the meat of the subject, we still have to cover something that affects all of us. You have probably come pretty close to a car accident (if not been in one), so you know such a thing can happen even if you drive perfectly (or as much as possible at least).

It’s all about the weather, right? Hold it right there! Contrary to popular belief, snowy weather and busy business days are not when most car accidents happen. Sure, they do account for some car crashes. But let’s see why such conditions don’t take the top spot.

It’s All about the State of Mind

Most people think that there’s extra danger in driving during the winter. No surprise there, slippery roads and bad visibility sound like one heck of an obstacle to deal with. Yet, this is exactly why people drive more carefully – they expect something bad to happen. And when people are more careful, accident numbers drop. So consequently, when people believe it is the safest to drive out there, they tend to be less concentrated, and a lot of them, in turn, drive carelessly. If we follow that logic, do you know where we’ll get?

Perhaps the Weather Can Be Blamed After All

Yes, it can! Although, it’s not what you think. Most accidents seem to actually happen during the summer. We can attribute a lot of them to both hot weather and driver carelessness. High temps can play a number on our vision; there’s no doubt in that. If you drive in the South, you know it’s basically suicide to not have your A/C on.

There can be about 25% increase in the number of accidents come summer. However, it’s not all about the weather. Thinking you are king of the road is also a major reason people get into a crash.

The Human Factor

You didn’t think the weather is the primary cause of accidents, did you? Because as convenient as it is to blame everything on adverse climatic conditions, we can’t do that. Sadly, most accidents happen due to bad driving. Now, what is “bad” driving, you ask? It does sound kind of vague. Let’s say that encompasses everything a human is responsible for – speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving (e.g. texting while driving) and everything that follows after that.

About 30% of the most severe collisions statisticians attribute to speeding. Some argue that such statistics are not exactly accurate. There is a fair point that 10 mph over the limit gets thrown together with 30 mph over. But it still shows us that people have a tendency to speed. And while alcohol is not the biggest cause of daytime crashes, it passes the 50% mark during the night. This number makes alcohol-related car accidents quite the frightening issue. And you cannot blame the weather for alcohol consumption. Although, some people still try to do it.

Lastly, it seems like distracted driving, e.g. texting while driving, is on the rise. Statistics point out that most people have texted behind the wheel at least once. A lot of folks even believe that they won’t get into an accident if they are careful enough. But psychologists say that humans are not good at multitasking. You are either texting or driving – you can’t do both at the same time.

The People Behind the Wheel

We know you are interested in the kinds of people that get into accidents the most. Is it casual everyday drivers? Perhaps it’s the pros, who always like to boast no one on the road can touch them? Or possibly those truck drivers you’ve heard to fall asleep on the wheel? Things might be a bit more interesting than you think. Let’s see!

Does Age Matter?

Regardless of where you live, there seems to be quite the prejudice among drivers. Aside from the common “men vs. women” debate that we won’t cover here today, the other one is perhaps just as prevalent.

Most people are familiar with the widespread statistic that young drivers (i.e. 16-24) get into more crashes than average. But since we are all about fair data here, we have to say this is not because of age.

Just because someone is young doesn’t mean they’re more prone to get into an accident. There are two things that actually matter: carelessness, and to a lesser degree than people expect – experience.

The problem is that people think a driver with 20 years of experience is somehow better than someone with 3. This conclusion may seem intuitive, but it’s an unfounded bias.

Having experience only helps you in situations you are familiar with and know how to manage. That’s the only weight it has in how younger drivers perform. But you can have 30 years behind the wheel and still be as careless as an 18-year-old.

So it is the carelessness that gets most people into accidents regardless of age. It just happens that younger people tend to be more careless. We can’t say why – that is up to psychologists to explain.

Aggressive vs. Defensive Drivers

There is this school of thought that you should either drive aggressively enough to quickly avoid dangerous situations (although we argue you’d be the one causing them) or always be on the defense to evade them as adequately as possible.

While the latter is quite the effective strategy to stay out of driving accidents, statistics show that most aggressive drivers take part in accidents more frequently. This only goes to show that driving like you own the road is not the way to go (pun intended).

Yet, just because you drive on the safe side (i.e. at a reasonable speed and with your eyes on the road), doesn’t mean you won’t get rear-ended, or hit from the side. After all, you are only one part of the equation, but at least you can be a good part.

The Big Rig Drivers

Depending on who you ask, truck drivers can either be the best or the worst kind. Often they are pointed to as the go-to cause of accidents on the interstate. However, more often than not that isn’t the case.

Many drivers aren’t considerate when they are on the road. This gets even worse when people have to take trucks into account. A lot of folks hate the fact they have a harder time passing a big rig. So what happens when something goes wrong in such a maneuver? The truck driver gets blamed for not giving way or driving too fast.

The truth is that ALL drivers have to be careful. They need to know when it’s wise to go past a big vehicle. And while truck drivers also make mistakes, too often they are wrongly accused.

The Number One Offender

If we compile the data, we can describe the most likely person to be involved in an accident. That is a risk-taker, who’s aggressive on the road and is easily distracted. If we take into account alcohol consumption, things can get too grim too quickly.

While the average Joe will be involved in an accident every 17.9 years, things are worse for the driver, profiled above. A psychological study adds that if someone is prone to blaming his driving mistakes on the traffic, weather, other drivers, or any other external factor, they are much more likely to be in an accident or even be the cause of one.

There are many reasons why this is the case. A big one is the fact that if you don’t take responsibility for your mistakes, you won’t learn from them. A study pointed out that about 14% of drivers don’t remember the accidents they’ve been in and don’t consider themselves responsible in the least bit.

And Then Come the Cars

There is the notion that drivers of certain car makes are much more likely to cause an accident. And although that may be true to some extent, such a generalization is again quite wrong.

Recent studies have found out that owners of luxury car makes Audi and Lexus are involved in more accidents than average. Yet, the popular expensive brands BMW and Mercedes actually fall below average a lot of the time. Even in the worst cases, they don’t go over the midpoint.

To a lot of people that may sound surprising, but a statistician would say there’s nothing strange about that. Some luxury car brand owners get into accidents more often, and some don’t. This also applies to budget and midrange car makes as well. Which means it’s all pretty average.

Yes, we know you wanted things to be more interesting in this section, but they are what they are – drivers of all kinds of vehicles cause accidents. Which brings us to the conclusion that it’s much more about character than it is about money.

What Can You Do?

After all that data you should want to know good ways to avoid getting into a car accident. We have some good news, but here is our observation. The more you stay behind the wheel, the higher the chances of a car accident with your involvement. Does that mean you should drive less? Well, maybe, but maybe not.

Addressing the Real Problem

Actually, it’s not simply how much you drive, but how much you drive at a time. If you stay behind the wheel for a long time, you are more likely to lose your focus. But driving long distance is often a necessity, not a choice. So here are some ways, which can help you avoid accidents as much as possible.

First, consider the nature of your trip. If it’s about business, are other people going too? Won’t it be better if you travel together and take turns behind the wheel? Carpooling seems to be a common practice nowadays and doesn’t only apply to business trips.

Second, if you are traveling alone, consider getting on the road a bit early and plan a couple of breaks. There is a reason why truck drivers are obligated to stop at set times – it just works. Taking even a 15-minute break can boost your awareness quite a lot.

Consider the Alternative

People also drive long distance when they buy a new car out of state. The used car market is on the rise, and you often can’t get a particular older vehicle anywhere else. So if you are planning such a trip, keep in mind that there are better ways to go about it.

Instead of going to the place and driving the car back yourself, you can use the auto transport service. It can often be cheaper and is definitely a more secure alternative.

On a similar note, if you are moving across the country with more than one car, you can utilize a professional auto transport company, rather than having drivers for every car. Again, this can cost less, and you will save on stress and worries.

Conclusion

Getting behind the wheel is not a risk-free business. However, knowing the data can help you make better decisions next time you hit the road. Your safety and that of others should be the top priority, not how quickly you can get from point A to point B.

And if more people know about these things, fixing the issue at hand will become much easier. You can help deal with it even further by sharing this article so that people can get a better idea about the problem.

We hope you have a great day! Don’t forget to drive safely!

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About the Author:

Atanas Nikolov is a creative with an affinity for psychology and science. He believes the universe is a wonderful place to explore, and no universe is greater than the one inside ourselves. He enjoys a good debate, and can always bring an alternative viewpoint to the table. He also loves reading fiction and poetry. It is highly likely that he writes some as well, but these rumors have not been proven yet.
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