The road can be a dangerous place with hazards like distracted motorists and severe weather. Drivers should know how to decrease their risks when traveling.
Understanding the common causes of serious auto accidents can help you stay safe.
Even though texting and driving is illegal in Pennsylvania, it still leads to many serious and fatal collisions. Device use is a common driving distraction, but it is not the only danger. Eating, adjusting vehicle settings and chatting also take your attention from the road. Stay focused when driving and pull over if you need to send an urgent message or have a snack.
Driving too fast is a major contributor to accidents. Speeding reduces the time you have to react to obstacles. It also increases the severity of collisions. Adhering to speed limits is a fundamental aspect of responsible driving.
Driving under the influence
Using drugs or alcohol before driving significantly impairs judgment, coordination and reaction time. Impaired drivers pose a severe threat to themselves and others. If you plan to indulge, make responsible choices like taking a rideshare or using a designated driver.
Aggressive and reckless driving behaviors heighten the risk of accidents. Examples include tailgating, frequently changing lanes and ignoring traffic signals. Running red lights is a common cause of intersection accidents. Respecting traffic rules and exercising patience foster a safer driving environment.
Severe weather conditions
Adverse weather such as rain, snow or fog contributes to hazardous driving conditions. Reduced visibility, slippery roads and longer braking distances require heightened caution. Adjust driving habits to accommodate weather challenges or stay off the road if possible.
Driving while exhausted impairs reaction time and decision-making skills. Becoming drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel can lead to catastrophic accidents. Adequate rest and breaks can help you maintain alertness on the road.
Young and new drivers have a higher risk of accidents. They have limited experience with driving challenges and may lack the skills to avoid collisions. Continued education and experience are key to developing safe driving habits.
Pennsylvania had 1,179 fatal accidents in 2022, a decline after several years of rising traffic deaths. Awareness of the root causes of collisions can continue to reduce this substantial risk.