Top reasons why accidents occur
So what are the main contributory factors to car accidents?
According to a Department for Transport study, Contributory Factors to Road Accidents, 2005, the main causes of accidents are as follows:
- Failure to look properly – 18%
- Failure to judge another person's path/speed – 10%
- Being careless, reckless or in a hurry – 9%
- Poor turning/manoeuvring – 8%
- Loss of control – 8%
- Going too fast for conditions – 7%
- Slippery road – 6%
- Following too close – 4%
- Sudden braking – 4%
These figures are drawn from accidents where the police attended the scene and a contributory factor was reported. But just looking at the above, it's clear to see that some simple actions can be taken to try and reduce the risk of having an accident.
If you are on the move and about to make a manoeuvre, make sure that you take the necessary time to look around you before doing so – whether this is taking a turn, overtaking, moving away from a junction or going onto a roundabout. If you are not completely sure that you have time to set off or execute your move then err on the side of caution. It might stop you causing, or being involved in, an accident.
Exceeding the speed limit actually only accounted for 3% of car accidents, so you need not only make sure that you are driving at the right speed for the conditions; you should try very hard not to become agitated. Slippery roads or questionable road conditions mean you should slow your speed down below the limit and being stressed can cause you to be more reckless than you would normally be.
Keep your distance
Even on roads where the speed limit is lower than on a dual carriageway or motorway it is possible to misjudge the distance between you and the car in front – so always give yourself a little more breathing space (and therefore braking distance) than you think you need. Also, be aware of traffic behind you and try not to brake sharply as other cars may be too close to you.
Car insurance is mandatory in the UK and it's important to make sure that you have the right level of cover.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of accidents, whether in the car or out of the car are often down to the same contributory factors. Of course, if a car is involved the potential for physical harm is considerably higher.