It's common knowledge that most car accidents result from distractions, alcohol or recklessness behind the wheel. However, these three lesser-known causes of car accidents are much more likely than most drivers realize.
While you're on the road, make sure not to let the potential for these hazards slip your mind.
Debris in the road
A recent AAA study found that more than 200,000 accidents over the last four years were caused by debris in the road. These circumstances usually happen because a vehicle has failed to secure a load they are traveling with properly. If the load becomes loose, it can fly out onto the road, causing other drivers to swerve and accidents to ensue.
To avoid these accidents, it's a good idea to stick to the speed limit and keep a large cushion of space between you and other vehicles. This will increase your time to react in case there is a hazard in the road ahead. If you are traveling behind a vehicle carrying a load, take care to distance yourself from the driver just in case.
Rubbernecking is a phenomenon that describes the inclination for people to slow down and look at a car accident as they are driving past it. Some even turn their head as they drive by to continue looking.
Rubbernecking can also happen when there is any "spectacle" on the road, including a policeman pulling someone else over.
This behavior is characteristic of distracted driving because it takes the driver's attention off of the road. One study found that rubbernecking may contribute to 16 percent of all distraction-related car accidents.
Sometimes it can be easy for people to forget that we aren't the only species around. Most drivers don't expect to encounter animals on the road. However, larger animals, such as deer, coyotes or even turkey could easily cause a crash.
Like the other causes listed, this hazard is difficult to see coming. Leaving a large cushion of space between other vehicles and maintaining the speed limit will help you react if a driver ahead suddenly stops or swerves out of the way for an animal ahead.
If an accident occurs
In cases like these, it may be easy for a driver to blame the accident on the hazards that may have been out of their control. However, by practicing safe, defensive driving, an accident may still be avoided.
If you are involved in an accident like this, call a personal injury attorney to help investigate the events of the accident. A lawyer can help determine if the fault may fall on a driver that wasn't paying attention.