There are many different factors that can contribute to a collision, and understanding those factors can help us do our part in preventing collisions. In the state of Texas, there were 15,764 serious injury crashes in 2021 with 19,448 of people involved sustaining a serious injury. Not only can a collision impact the person driving and their passengers, but auto accidents can cause harm to other vehicles and pedestrians in the vicinity. The following are a few of the top causes of collisions according to the Texas Department of Transportation and some tips on how to avoid them:

Failure to control speed- 134,125 total crashes 

Not controlling speed was the number one cause of collisions in Texas in 2021. Following the posted speed limit is the best way to avoid driving too far over or under speed. Being aware of road conditions that change due to weather, construction, or other human changes is also very important. Being attentive to your proximity to vehicles in front of you can also help prevent failing to control your speed. 

 

Driver inattention- 82,705 total crashes

Being distracted while driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as “any activity that could divert attention from the primary task of driving.” In simple terms, trying to do any sort of multitasking while driving a vehicle is driver inattention. Little tasks that we do without much forethoughts, such as changing the radio station, checking a text, or trying to figure out where the next turn will be on maps, are actions that we don’t think have an effect on our driving ability but do. According to The American Automobile Association, even with hands-free features, drivers can remain distracted for up to 27 seconds after using a mobile device. Of course, other distractions include eating or drinking while driving, as well as doing any sort of self-grooming. In order to prevent distracted driving, the most effective method of change is to just wait. Do not multitask; hold off on completing various actions until you have come to a complete stop and are no longer at risk of hitting anyone or anything. 

 

Try to make all of the adjustments that you will need for your trip before you begin your drive. Of course, there are times when you don’t think of everything beforehand, and that’s when it’s best to pull off to a gas station or any other nearby safe location, so you can ensure that you get everything safely prepared for the rest of your travels. 

Failure to yield while turning left – 33,813

Not yielding is another one of the leading causes of collisions. More specifically, not yielding the right of way while turning left. Many traffic laws vary from county to county, but for the most part, the basics stay the same. Most times, the car that is moving with the flow of traffic has the right of way. When a vehicle is turning left, it always has to yield to oncoming traffic unless it has a turn signal. Whether at a stoplight, a yield sign, an on-ramp, or more, practicing defensive driving is a key way to prevent accidents. 

 

Defensive driving consists of being an active participant and being aware of your surroundings, including other drivers around you. Also, secure any cargo you have that might move around when the vehicle is in motion. Have items that you might need, such as toll cards, garage passes, wallets, or more, in close proximity so you can prevent leaning or reaching far distances for items while driving. Always drive sober and make sure you do not drive drowsy. 

In order to avoid collisions, leave within a proper amount of time and eliminate the desire to drive over the posted speed limit. Always make sure you’re paying attention while driving and postpone any tasks until you arrive. Be extra attentive when making left turns and yield to oncoming traffic. Driving safety should always be a top priority. Arrive alive.