With around 10 thousand car accidents on the roads of Britain every day and 290,000 car accident injuries per year, the roads are a dangerous place to be. It is important for drivers to recognise the reasons why car accidents happen so frequently, so steps can be taken to avoid future car crashes.
Factors which can cause a car accident:
Vehicle failure (estimated to be the cause of around 3% of car accidents)
Road maintenance (estimated to be the cause of around 7% of car accidents)
Human error (estimated to be the cause of around 90-95% of car accidents combined with other factors)
An estimated 3% of car accidents in the UK are caused by vehicle failure. Some of these failures are design or production flaws when the car was made, and these often become the subject of vehicle recalls if the problem is widespread or present a substantial danger to car occupants.
Most of the vehicle failures that occur, however, are down to poor car maintenance. Problems range from faulty lights to problematic brakes and tyres that are under or over inflated, but each increase the chances of a car accident occurring. For example, most drivers have at some point mistaken a car for a motorbike when one headlight or brakelight isn't working.
Many drivers do not even realise that they have a faulty light or improperly inflated tyres, and it is not until they have an accident that they find out. To avoid a car accident occurring as a result of a vehicle fault, make sure to check your tyres, lights, oil and water on a weekly basis and if you believe you have a problem with your car that you cannot identify or fix, get a mechanic to check it out immediately.
A study by the AA Motoring Trust found that roads are in poorer condition now than they were in the seventies, and one in five miles of major local roads fail skid tests. There are many failings within our roads that drivers should be, and are not, aware of.
For example, for a time after some new road surfaces are laid, they often provide poorer skid resistance than the surface that was there previously. If you are driving on a newly laid road surface, be very cautious and do not assume that it is going to give you the best skid resistance just because it is new.
Inadequate road drainage that leads to floods, badly positioned road furniture that hinders line of sight, and pot holes are all other road maintenance issues that can cause a car accident. If you spot a potential road safety problem arising from the road itself, inform your local County Council and help prevent a car accident happening to someone in the future.
Human error is the biggest cause of car accidents ? when combined with inadequate road maintenance and vehicle faults it accounts for up to 95% of the 3.5 million car accidents on Britain's roads each year.
Distractions such as mobile phones, spilt drinks or screaming children in the back are the cause of many thousands of injuries on the roads. It has been found in two separate studies that people using hand held mobile phones whilst driving have four times the chance of being in a car accident than people who are not. Even using a hands free phone is a substantial distraction, and drivers are strongly recommended to switch off their phones altogether when on the road.
Misjudging speed or direction is another human error that is a common cause of car accidents. Drink driving, drugs and fatigue further impair coordination, perception of speed and reaction times of drivers. Together, fatigue and alcohol cause 14% of all car accidents and 35% of all car accident fatalities.
Speed tends to be one factor in causing a car accident rather than the sole cause, and therefore it is very difficult to find out how many car crashes speeding causes a year. However, it has been estimated that excess speed plays a part in 100,000 car accidents that result in injury each year.