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This article was published on August 24th, 2021
Over the past year and a half, there has been a significant reduction in the number of serious injuries and deaths that have been caused by road traffic accidents in England and Wales due to the stay-at-home restrictions that were put in place due to the pandemic. However, as restrictions have eased, we wanted to remind people that unfortunately, road traffic accidents will still occur, often due to dangerous driving from other motorists.
This article will explore the top five causes of road traffic accidents and the steps you can take to try and prevent them. Currently, the top causes of road traffic accidents are:
Failing to look properly is the most common cause of road traffic accidents in England and Wales.
Basic driving skills involve looking before overtaking, pulling out of a junction or approaching a roundabout but there are several reasons that motorists may fail to look properly when driving:
Tiredness – We hear this one a lot, but being tired can have a significant effect on a driver’s awareness, never drive tired and take regular breaks where possible.
In-vehicle distractions – Distractions inside a vehicle such as other passengers, mobile phones or the radio can all cause a driver to fail to look before manoeuvring.
Complacency – It is often the case that when a driver knows a certain road or route well, they can become complacent.
The most common place where a driver will fail to look properly is at a junction. With the majority of drivers either not looking at all or checking for other vehicles too late in their manoeuvre.
The second biggest cause of road traffic accidents are drivers failing to accurately judge the other person’s path or speed, a vehicle that is travelling at speed can cover a significant distance in a short space of time.
The physical layout of the road and its surroundings can encourage and discourage speed, drivers tend to travel more quickly when they are travelling on the straight stretch of the motorway whereas they are more likely to keep to a slower pace on country roads where they cannot see around the bends.
The risk of having a crash increases as the driver’s speed increases, particularly at junctions and whilst overtaking because the driver can often underestimate the speed and overestimate the distance of another vehicle.
Another significant cause of road traffic accidents is driving recklessly or speeding, this tends to happen if a driver is late or in a rush. Reckless driving is often associated with speeding but it isn’t always the case. Reckless driving can include performing manoeuvres and swapping lanes without looking.
Speeding whilst driving reduces the amount of time that they have to stop if they need to, it can also increase the severity of a crash.
Space is a driver’s best friend, even when in a rush drivers should leave at least two seconds between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. It is important to note that in wet weather it can take twice the distance to stop.
Driver’s may need to pull into or leave the roadway for several reasons throughout their journey, they may need to gain access to their property, drop off or pick up a passenger or pull in to their destination.
A poor turn or manoeuvre can lead to road traffic accidents for several reasons. Driver’s do not always have adequate turning facilities or opportunities to turn due to high volumes of traffic. Road design can also contribute to crashes due to reduced sight distance and poor road alignment.
However, manoeuvring crashes can also occur when a driver is struck by another vehicle due to them trying to turn in the same direction or choosing to turn on a road that is too busy.
Losing control of a vehicle can happen to anyone. Drivers can lose control for a number of reasons, they may take a corner too quickly or drive at speed during heavy rainfall, causing the car to aquaplane.
However, whilst speeding is often the cause, it is not always the case. Loss of control can also occur due to a flat tire, pothole or road debris.
Road traffic accidents and injury claims are unfortunately very common. Thorneycroft Solicitors specialise in offering advice to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists who have been the victims of road traffic accidents. To speak to a member of our team, call us on 0800 1979 345 or fill out our enquiry form.