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How to Tell if You're Going to Get in a Car Accident

While some of the factors are outside of your control, other factors that contribute to auto accidents are elements you can do something about.

All over the world, traffic accidents are a serious public health concern.

"The main road injury problems are being sustained worldwide by people who make similar mistakes, share the same human tolerance to injury limits and have the same inherent behavioral limitations," according to the World Health Organization.

While some of the factors are outside of your control, other factors that contribute to auto accidents are things you can do something to address.

Here are situations in which you should be aware that you're at an increased risk of getting into an accident and what you can do about it.

Human error

When you're at the wheel, the only thing you can control is your driving and how well you respond to adverse conditions. That's significant, as drivers are to blame for more than 2 million crashes nationally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

"Decision error such as driving too fast for conditions, too fast for the curve, false assumption of others’ actions, illegal maneuver and misjudgment of gap or others’ speed accounted for about 33 percent of the crashes," the NHTSA said.

Because human error is by far the most common reason for traffic accidents, when you make every effort to focus and remain vigilant on the road you'll be less likely to get into an accident.

With great power comes great responsibility, so keep your driving skills up to snuff and make the choice to avoid digital distractions like cell phones. During one 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study, driver involvement in secondary tasks contributed to over 22 percent of all crashes.

High speed

Driving on high-speed freeways or rural highways is more dangerous than driving on lower-speed roads. In fact, last year more than half the nation's traffic fatalities occurred in rural areas even though less than a quarter of the population lives there, according to National Public Radio.

"In some states, more than 90 percent of highway deaths occur on rural roads," NPR reported.

There are several reasons for these statistics, including that people often drive faster in the countryside or think the remote context makes driving under the influence of substances okay. Additionally, long drives and road trips, which frequently make use of high-speed roads, are often occasions when drivers are sleepy or distracted by cooped up kids or pets.

When you plan a road trip, budget time for rest stops and switch drivers during long hauls. Never increase speed or drive recklessly simply because there's nobody around.

Passengers

A study (see page five) by Australian researchers revealed that drivers with two or more passengers are more than twice as likely to crash as unaccompanied drivers. Those with even a single passenger were nearly 60 percent more likely to have a motor vehicle crash resulting in hospital attendance. If you’re driving friends or family members around, be aware that you’re in a riskier situation and decide to focus on the road more than the conversation.

Bad weather

Inclement weather, especially rainy, wet conditions, drastically increase the chances people will get in an accident, so take extra precautions if you get into the car during a storm.

Precipitation impacts traction, driver behavior, the road, traffic signal timing and speed limit control, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

If you see storm clouds in the distance, paying attention to your speed or pulling over to wait out the worst of the storm can help you avoid accidents.

Preparedness

If you encounter any of the problematic conditions that increase the chances of an accident, use more caution and pay special attention to your driving. Remind yourself, no matter how much of a hurry you may be in to get to work, pick up your kids or make it home to relax, that the delay will be far worse if you are in an accident.

This message is proudly sponsored by WMC Tri-State Medical Network.

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