In 1891, engineer James Lambert was driving one of his inventions, an early gasoline-powered buggy, when he ran into a little trouble. The buggy, also carrying passenger James Swoveland, hit a tree root sticking out of the ground. Lambert lost control and the vehicle swerved and crashed into a hitching post.
This is America’s first recorded car accident.
Since than car accidents make up the leading cause of death and injury do to personal injury and car accidents.
While we know a lot about car accidents and the impact they can have on our life, some of the statistics are shocking. In addition to that, the growth and development of the auto industry over the years is surprising as today it would be hard for us to imagine cars any other way. Check out these facts that you probably didn’t know about car accidents.
1) Until 1973, some car transmissions took whale oil.
2) Each day an estimated 135,000,000 cars are on the roads in the U.S.
3) The first speeding ticket was issued in 1904—the speedster was traveling at an astounding 12 miles per hour.
4) 40 percent of all fatal accidents involve alcohol.
5) It is estimated that a motorist will curse 32,000 times in their life while operating a car or truck.
6) The first car used a lever not a steering wheel to direct the car.
7) The windshield wiper was invented by Mary Anderson before Henry Ford’s Model A was even manufactured. Her window cleaning device became standard on all automobiles in America in 1916.
8) The majority of car accidents occur within 3 miles of the driver’s home.
9) Each year approximately 15 pedestrian students are killed by school buses—most often these accidents occur after school is out.
10) Vehicle rollovers are the most deadly type of car accidents.
11) According to various research men actually cause twice as many accidents as women.
12) Teens are at a much higher risk of being injured or killed in car accidents. Each year 300,000 are injured and 5,000 are killed on average.
13) When you talk on a cell phone while driving you are increasing your chance of being in an accident by 400 percent.
14) The average text message takes 4.6 seconds to write and send. While driving that would take your eyes off the road long enough to drive the length of a football field blind if you are travelling at 55 miles per hour.
15) In the time it took you to read this list there have been four car accidents. Statistics show that car accidents that involve injury occur every 14 seconds and every 12 minutes a car accident will be fatal.
In addition the Association For Safe International Road Travel released these statistics.
Annual Global Road Crash Statistics
- Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day.
- An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled.
- More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.
- Road traffic crashes rank as the 9th leading cause of death and account for 2.2% of all deaths globally.
- Road crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-29, and the second leading cause of death worldwide among young people ages 5-14.
- Each year nearly 400,000 people under 25 die on the world’s roads, on average over 1,000 a day.
- Over 90% of all road fatalities occur in low and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s vehicles.
- Road crashes cost USD $518 billion globally, costing individual countries from 1-2% of their annual GDP.
- Road crashes cost low and middle-income countries USD $65 billion annually, exceeding the total amount received in developmental assistance.
- Unless action is taken, road traffic injuries are predicted to become the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.
Annual United States Road Crash Statistics
- Over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year.
- An additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled.
- Over 1,600 children under 15 years of age die each year.
- Nearly 8,000 people are killed in crashes involving drivers ages 16-20.
- Road crashes cost the U.S. $230.6 billion per year, or an average of $820 per person.
- Road crashes are the single greatest annual cause of death of healthy U.S. citizens traveling abroad.
The best way to be safe is to avoid an accident in the first place. Defensive driving is now taught in almost every state.
The First Principle of Defensive Driving
Traits that all defensive drivers have in common are that they never take for granted that nothing will go wrong, and they never assume that other drivers will do the right thing. It’s this mindset that ensures they never put themselves in unnecessary danger and that they’re prepared to react in any emergency.
As such, the first principle of defensive driving is to avoid risky behavior. On the road, it can be tempting to bend the rules sometimes because the risk seems low. For instance, maybe you’re feeling frustrated because the car ahead of you is traveling 10 mph under the limit, and there’s only one lane going in your direction. On your left, there’s a double solid yellow line, prohibiting passing, but the road ahead seems clear. So why not pass? As long as nothing goes wrong, everything will be fine, right?
The problem is, any plan that relies on nothing going wrong is a bad plan. Maybe a car is approaching along a hidden T-intersection on the side of the road. Maybe there’s a driver speeding towards you on the other side of the highway. Or maybe your illegal maneuver will confuse the driver ahead of you, causing him to speed up just as you’re trying to reenter the lane ahead of him.
The point is, you don’t know what will happen, and the only way to ensure your safety is to expect the worst and act accordingly. This means always driving in a safe, legal, and responsible way, even if you have no reason to expect trouble.
Defensive Driving Helps You Avoid Danger
The second principle of defensive driving is to expect others to ignore the first. That is, you must be ready for something to happen that could put you in danger. In other words, you must:
- Stay alert. Pay constant attention to what other road users are doing and watch carefully for potential hazards.
- Scan the road ahead and keep your eyes moving so that you spot potential hazards sooner.
- Maintain a safe following distance and identify areas of the road you can use if you have to make evasive maneuvers.
- Watch out for changes in driving conditions so you won’t be surprised by the actions of other drivers.
- Don’t make assumptions about what other drivers will do and be ready to respond when they do something you don’t expect.
- Take action immediately when you notice a potential threat on the road.
The Driver’s Golden Rule
The golden rule of driving is always treat other drivers the way you want to be treated. As a defensive driver, your goal is to put yourself in a place where you can response calmly, patiently, and courteously when the unexpected inevitably occurs.
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. But on the road, a single bad decision or lapse in judgment can easily result in disaster. By driving defensively, you don’t just protect yourself. You also give other drivers room to make mistakes safely—just as you hope others will do when the same thing happens to you.
If you are in an accident stay calm. Make sure to remove yourself from any immediate danger. Call the police and get checked by a doctor who specializes in auto injuries. SafeCare Docs can help you find a qualified physician near you.