A 2008 study by researchers at the University of Michigan dissected nearly 7,000 motor vehicle accidents across the United States. The purpose? To find out why accidents happen in the first place. And the researchers found a few very important factors that are common in many accidents.
The first is the concept of giving the person in front of you enough space to brake and fully stop. Too many people tailgate other cars out on the road, meaning that the car behind the vehicle in front has almost no time or space to react to a sudden change in traffic. It is always the car in back that is at fault in a rear-end collision, so it is best for you to always give the vehicle in front of you plenty of space.
Another crucial reason why car accidents happen is state of mind of the driver. Yes, that may be a vague statement, but all of these reasons fall under that umbrella: distracted driving, fatigued driving, and driving dangerously (speeding, for example) all constitute poor driving decisions. The driver’s state of mind greatly contributes to his or her ability to safely operate a vehicle and, thus, to be safe out on the road.
Last but not least, remember that a red light means “stop.” You would think this doesn’t need to be said, but a rolling right turn at a red light is responsible for 6 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents according to the study. Make a full stop at a red light and look both ways before you decide to proceed through the intersection.
Source: Slate, “Anatomy of a Car Crash,” Steve Casner, Nov. 21, 2017