To Err is Human - And That’s Bad News for Motorists

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Louthian Law

Columbia, SC

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Practice Areas: Personal Injury

We all make mistakes. We generally just accept that we will inevitably forget someone’s birthday or leave our keys inside our vehicles. But in certain circumstances, our carelessness is more consequential than a simple lapse in judgment. When we operate a motor vehicle, we are piloting a machine that weighs 2 tons. With the privilege of driving, comes great responsibility.

 

Unfortunately, drivers regularly fail to live up to their duties behind the wheel. Every year, there are around 35,000 fatalities on our roads and many more severe injuries. Approximately 94 percent of these crashes are due to human error.

 

Common Causes of Vehicle Crashes

To know how we might be able to reduce the number of vehicle crashes on our roads, we should first identify how these crashes happen. A single vehicle crash can have many causes. For example, it might be raining and a driver could also be distracted by reading weather reports on their phone. One single crash can might be caused by the fault of two people.

 

No two crashes are the same, but they often result from the same types of mistakes. The most common forms of human error behind the wheel are:

  • Distraction
  • Impairment
  • Aggressive driving
  • Following another vehicle too closely
  • Running a red light
  • Failing to observe yield signs.

 

Other factors might contribute to these errors. For example, if a driver hasn’t had adequate sleep, then they are more prone to cause a crash. When we fail to adapt to the conditions of the road - i.e. hazardous weather or heavy traffic - we also increase our chances of being involved in a serious crash.

 

A Silver Lining to the Dark Cloud of Driver Error

The bad news is that over nine out 10 ten crashes are due to mistakes made by drivers. The good news is the fact that drivers have the ability to make fewer mistakes. In other words, these crashes are almost always preventable.

 

Many safety advocates are looking toward self-driving vehicles to eliminate human error as a factor in crashes, but the reality is that we are far away from self-driving vehicles completely replacing human drivers. Until the day comes that we can get in our vehicles and tune out, we must rededicate ourselves to the task of driving. That means going back to basics - never use your phone while driving, stay under the speed limit, allow plenty of distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, and always adhere to traffic signs and signals.

 

Not only does our own safety depend on our skill as drivers, we also hold the safety of others in our hands. We can’t control what other drivers might do, but we can make sure that we do our part to keep our roads safe.

 

When other drivers fall short of their responsibility, they can be held accountable for the harm they cause. Injured motorists, pedestrians or cyclists can file personal injury claims to receive compensation for the costs associated with injuries inflicted by a negligent driver. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a crash, nor do they want to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

 

There are many reasons to reevaluate the way in which we drive. We might be concerned for our own safety or the safety of our loved ones. Maybe we don’t want to be the one responsible for another person’s injuries. Regardless of what our motivation might be, it’s worth our best effort. As the number of vehicle fatalities has been increasing in recent years, it is imperative that each of us look for ways to make our roads safer.

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