Leading Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in North Carolina
Fatigue, distractions, alcohol and speeding making driving in the Tar Heel State more dangerous
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that North Carolina has a higher incidence of most motor vehicle accidents than the rest of the United States. At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, our auto accident attorneys want you to know as much as possible about the leading causes of vehicle accidents so you can keep yourself and your family safe. But if you are seriously injured by a reckless or careless driver, our determined accident attorneys are here to fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Distracted drivers taking their eyes and mind off the road
Throughout the country, a significant number of car, truck and motorcycle accidents are caused by driver distraction: in 2015 alone, distracted driving claimed nearly 3,500 lives nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) estimates that in 2016, 20.3 percent of crashes in the state involved a driver who was distracted. However, this number is likely to be low, since distraction is a statistic that relies on drivers self-reporting. Common distractions include texting, rubbernecking, talking on a cellphone, eating, looking at scenery, scolding children, adjusting the radio, putting on makeup, and reaching for an item. Anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your driving can distract you enough to cause a serious accident.
Driver fatigue can easily lead to accidents
It’s common knowledge that many Americans do not get sufficient sleep to maintain optimum health or even to remain alert throughout the day. Unfortunately, many of these sleep-deprived individuals don’t appreciate the danger of getting behind the wheel when they’re about to fall asleep. Drowsy driving accounts for about 12 percent of auto accidents in the United States. This is why so many tragic accidents happen between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., even though few vehicles are on the road. The second most dangerous time for driver fatigue is noon to 2 p.m., when many people feel sleepy after lunch.
To avoid driving when fatigued, watch for symptoms such as:
- Heavy eyelids
- Frequent yawning
- Vehicle wandering over road lines
- Varying vehicle speed unintentionally
- Misjudging traffic situations
- Feeling fidgety or irritable
If you detect any of these signs, pull over to the side of the road and allow yourself a 15-minute nap. This should be sufficient to revive you and allow you to make your way safely to your destination.
Drunk driving remains a persistent problem
According to the NHTSA study, drunk driving accounts for one death in the United States almost every half-hour. Weekends are the worst time for drunk driving accidents — about 53 percent of weekend fatal crashes are DUI-related. In 2016, according to statistics compiled by the NCDOT, there were 11,264 alcohol-related crashes in the state, causing 8,189 injuries and 402 fatalities. Drunk-driving fatalities in North Carolina comprised 27.9 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. Despite these sobering statistics, people here and nationwide continue to drive while impaired, and the results can be deadly.
Speeding and aggressive driving cause wrecks and increase the severity of injuries
Driving at a speed above the posted limit or too fast for road conditions increases the likelihood of an accident for several reasons:
- Excessive speed reduces the time for evasive maneuvering.
- Excessive speed shortens the time other drivers can react to you.
- The additional force that comes with excessive speed makes crashes more severe.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that the energy released in a crash doubles when people drive 60 mph instead of 40 mph. The NCDOT reports that in 2016, there were 4,043 crashes in North Carolina that involved a driver exceeding the speed limit. Of those, 2,088 caused injuries, and 240 were fatal.
An aggressive driver is one who operates a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold, or pushy manner, without regard for the rights or safety of others. Aggressive drivers cause accidents by tailgating, making aggressive or rude gestures, honking excessively, assaulting others physically, disregarding traffic signals, changing lanes frequently and abruptly, and refusing to yield the right of way.
Adjust your driving to weather conditions or face liability for an accident
Even the best roads can become deadly when heavy rain, ice, hail, snow, high winds, or fog reduces visibility and traction. But Mother Nature is not entirely to blame — weather-related accidents often occur when drivers continue to speed, tailgate, or generally drive inappropriately for existing conditions. In bad weather, be extra alert for trouble. According to the NCDOT, 15,175 crashes occurred in North Carolina in 2016 because someone was driving too fast for conditions, resulting in 107 deaths and 5,016 injuries.
Your best efforts to avoid an accident may fail when others do not take similar precautions. If you are hurt in a car crash, Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban can provide the reliable representation you need to pursue financial recovery from negligent parties.
Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys for your North Carolina car accident
Our North Carolina accident attorneys with Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban draw on more than 200 combined years of experience successfully representing victims of motor vehicle crashes to obtain the compensation they deserve. When you need a dedicated lawyer for a car, truck or motorcycle accident in North Carolina, call (888) 351-1038 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.