It’s not always easy being in the auto body repair business. A good portion of our business comes from traffic accidents. Unfortunately, even in the slightest of fender benders, drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other road users get hurt in car accidents everyday.
But even if no one’s physically hurt, traffic accidents often inflict emotional trauma and stress. At the very least, it’s not a pleasant experience and it that might end up costing you in high repair bills or increased car insurance policy rates.
The numbers are staggering. There were 34,064 fatal or personal injury traffic accidents In Ontario in 2014. Of those, 447 were fatal. 311 drivers were killed, 68 passengers lost their lives and 94 pedestrians died.
That’s more than one person a day dying in Ontario due to a car accident. And some weren’t even in a car.
One way that you as a driver can reduce your chances of getting into a crash is to learn more about the causes of car accidents so you can do everything you can to avoid them. Accidents happen, but they don’t need to happen as often. Look for and try keep yourself and your vehicle away from theses leading causes of car accidents.
Regardless of how often we hear it, you still can’t find anyone going as slow as the speed limit on highways in and around Toronto, like the 400 series of highways. And, while most traffic travels at between 10 and 20 kilometres over the posted 100km limit, cars still whizz past you doing 10 or 20 kilometres more than that.
The problem with speeding that many drivers don’t realize is that it changes our perception of time. When we drive at a speed that is significantly higher than the traffic around us, we feel we have more time to react than we actually do. And even if we do react fast enough, it’s unusually difficult to keep the car under control at high speeds.
2. Distracted Driving
In the autumn of 2015, Ontario more than doubled the fines for distracted driving. A judge can now fine you up to $1,000 and give you three demerit points if you are charged with distracted driving.
Why? Because distracted driving now causes more than twice the number of traffic deaths in Ontario than impaired driving. While most people think that using mobile devices is the sole cause of distracted driving, it can also be caused by eating, reading or reaching for objects that are elsewhere in the car.
3. Driver Fatigue
Falling asleep at the wheel is one of those major causes of traffic accidents that you don’t hear about too much because it’s not really considered ‘preventable’. But, in the U.S., individuals who have a history of falling asleep at the wheel can be charged with a criminal offence. If you’re on a long journey, travelling at night or are simply tired, take precautions to prevent you from falling asleep at the wheel.
4. Drunk Driving
Driving with a blood-alcohol level that’s over the legal limit of .08% increases your chance of having an accident by 900%. Drunk driving accounted for one quarter of all traffic fatalities in Ontario last year. We don’t have to tell you how to avoid this one. If you drink, don’t drive.
5. Bad Weather
If we need reduce driving sppeds across-the-board, we especially need to slow down when the weather is wet, windy or icy. Particularly after some of the dry spells we had in Toronto this summer, rain can make roads slicker than usual because the water sits on the oil, gas and grease that’s accumulated on the road since the last rain.
But even when roads are clean, rain can cause your car to hydroplane, which means you have little or no control over the steering and braking of your vehicle. Of course snow and ice are slippery, but it’s ice hidden under snow, and black ice, that can cause your car to loose control unexpectedly. Always slow down in rainy, snowy and icy conditions.
Even if you’ve never been in one, you probably know of someone who has been in a serious accident and you know of the pain and suffering they can cause. Please drive safely, stay alert and avoid the consequences of a car accident.