Top 5 Causes of Car Accidents in Maryland and How to Stay Safe on the Road

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality on the roads, and Maryland is no exception. Drivers must be aware of the most common causes of these accidents and take the necessary precautions to stay safe behind the wheel. In this article, we will explore the top five causes of car accidents in Maryland and provide essential tips on how drivers can avoid them.

A greater understanding of the dangers on the road can help all drivers become more vigilant and defensive drivers. This not only protects themselves but also contributes to the overall safety of fellow commuters. So, whether you are a seasoned motorist or a new driver on Maryland’s highways, spending time learning the causes of accidents can be a lifesaver – both literally and figuratively. Stay tuned to learn about these causes and how you can minimize your risk of being involved in a car accident, ensuring a safer driving experience for everyone on the road.

1. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a significant cause of car accidents in Maryland and across the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019 alone, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people nationwide. Distractions can be anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road, including texting, talking on the phone, eating, grooming, adjusting the radio, or interacting with passengers.

To avoid distracted driving:

– Always keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

– Put your cell phone away or use a hands-free device, like a headset or a Bluetooth speaker, in states where it is legal.

– Set your GPS or navigation system before you start driving, and use voice guidance when possible.

– Limit conversations and interactions with passengers, especially when driving in heavy traffic or challenging weather conditions.

– Pull over to a safe location if you need to attend to something that requires your full attention, like eating or attending to a child.

2. Speeding and Reckless Driving

Speeding is another major cause of car accidents. According to the NHTSA, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2019, claiming 9,478 lives. Drivers who excessively exceed the speed limit not only reduce their reaction time but also increase the severity of accidents when they occur. Reckless driving behaviors like tailgating, aggressive lane changes, and running red lights also contribute to accidents on Maryland roads.

To prevent speeding and reckless driving:

– Observe posted speed limits and adjust your speed according to traffic and weather conditions.

– Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you to avoid tailgating.

– Always signal your intentions and be patient when changing lanes or merging into traffic.

– Obey traffic signals and signs and yield to other drivers when appropriate.

– Practice defensive driving techniques to anticipate and react to potential hazards on the road.

3. Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only illegal but also extremely dangerous. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA), an alcohol-related crash occurs in Maryland every 45 minutes, leading to an average of 7,500 crashes each year. Drinking impairs a driver’s ability to concentrate, make sound judgments, and react quickly to changing traffic conditions.

To avoid driving under the influence:

– Do not drink and drive. Always designate a sober driver, use a ride-sharing service, or take public transportation if you plan to consume alcohol.

– Be aware of the potential effects of prescription or over-the-counter medications on your driving abilities. Consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any concerns.

– If you suspect that a driver on the road is impaired, maintain a safe distance and call the local authorities or 911 to report the incident.

4. Driving in Inclement Weather

Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, and ice, can create hazardous driving situations and increase the risk of accidents. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), roughly 21% of all vehicle crashes in the United States every year are weather-related.

To stay safe in inclement weather:

– Slow down and increase your following distance when driving in adverse conditions.

– Turn on your headlights to increase visibility for yourself and other drivers.

– Avoid using cruise control on slippery roads, as it can make it harder to maintain control of your vehicle.

– Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your vehicle begins to skid, ease off the brake and steer in the direction you want to go.

– Keep your vehicle well-maintained, especially during winter months. Make sure your tires, brakes, and windshield wipers are in good condition.

5. Fatigue and Drowsy Driving

Fatigue and drowsy driving can significantly impair a driver’s ability to concentrate, react, and make decisions on the road. According to the NHTSA, drowsy driving was responsible for 697 fatalities in 2019. Fatigue can affect anyone, but drivers who work long hours, suffer from sleep disorders, or are on medications that cause drowsiness are at an increased risk.

To combat fatigue and drowsy driving:

– Get enough sleep before driving, especially if you plan to travel for an extended period.

– Take regular breaks during long trips, pulling over at rest areas or safe locations to rest, stretch, or switch drivers.

– Be mindful of any medications that may cause drowsiness, and avoid driving if you feel fatigued.

– Recognize the signs of drowsy driving, such as frequent yawning, heavy eyelids, drifting in and out of your lane, and difficulty remembering the last few miles driven.

– If you feel too tired to drive safely, pull over to a safe location and take a short nap or find lodging for the night.

Stay Safe and Drive Responsibly

Staying aware of the common causes of car accidents in Maryland and implementing the recommended preventative measures can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in an accident. By practicing safe, responsible, and defensive driving techniques, you can help protect yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road. However, if you or a loved one has unfortunately been involved in a car accident, it’s crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney. At Robinson & Associates, our dedicated team of legal professionals can help navigate the complex legal process and work tirelessly to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free consultation and let our expertise work for you.

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