We understand the dangers of car accidents all too well. They’re a leading cause of injury and death year after year.
When other issues take lives, people respond and take drastic steps. When studies link asbestos to cancer, it’s made illegal to use. When head injuries during football games lead to death and long-term cognitive problems, they change the rules of the very game and improve safety gear.
Car accidents, however, continue to be an issue. Lawmakers do take steps – changing speed limits, passing new laws about distracted driving, and much more – but they simply can’t eliminate the problem. Why not?
1. Human error is the greatest cause
The first reason is that nothing causes more car accidents than human error. All the laws in the world aren’t going to change that. You’ll still have drivers who don’t see stop signs or who push the gas pedal instead of the brake. People will make mistakes and accidentally violate rules and laws, and that will never end because it’s simply part of the human condition. Some speculate that self-driving cars are the solution, but they’re not on the market yet, and any car with a human at the controls is an accident risk.
2. Weather conditions are out of your control
You can control when you drive, but not the weather. Ice, rain and snow make roads slick. Black ice is nearly invisible and sends safe drivers who have broken no laws sliding out of control. Fog causes backups and rear-end accidents because drivers can’t see, even at low speeds.
3. There’s no substitute for experience
It’s well known that teen drivers are an incredible risk. Drivers between the ages of 16-19 crash more than any other age group. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that teen drivers are about three times more likely to be involved in deadly accidents than those who are 20 and up. There is simply no substitute for experience, and there’s no real way to get it other than putting these inexperienced, high-risk drivers on the road. There, they are always going to cause a disproportionate amount of accidents.
4. Mechanical defects and malfunctions are always possible
Self-driving cars were noted above, and it’s important to remember that mechanical defects also cause accidents. Drivers may have no idea anything is wrong until the car crashes all on its own, without their made any mistakes. Brakes can fail, cars can stall in traffic, electrical systems can short out, and much more. Even with self-driving cars, there’s always the risk of a malfunction or a defect that causes a crash.
So, what can you do? First, accept that driving is always going to come with certain risks. Remember to drive defensively and protect yourself, as you can’t trust other drivers to do the same. Next, look into your rights under New York law, and know what rights you may have to financial compensation. Even if an accident is unavoidable, compensation can help you pick up the pieces.