Sample analysis essay on road accidents Main Factors Contributing to Road Accidents There are many types of accidents which we humans encounter. These accidents can range from air, to rail or road accidents. Out of the many forms of accidents the most common forms are the vehicle or road accidents. In the year 2008 more than 6 million cars were involved in accidents according to a crash data report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of USA (NHTSA). Other reports stated that more than eighteen thousand people were involved in fatal accidents. (2009-2009 Ceatus Media Group LLC). Vehicle accidents are a major cause of death and injury among adults as well as teenagers around the world. As per the latest reports form US Department of Transport, a total of 37,261 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2008. Another 2.35 million people were injured (Traffic Safety Facts 2008). A recent survey shows that teenagers are more susceptible to vehicle accidents than adults. Highest rates of fatalities and injuries were reported in age group of 16-24 years (Traffic Safety Facts 2008). There are many contributing factors to this. Teenagers are more prone to driving under intoxications, speeding, inattentive driving and disregard bad road conditions. This essay aims to analyze some of the major causes which contribute to vehicle accidents and propose some precautionary measures which can help teenagers drive more safely. Some of the major causes of car accidents include driver negligence, drunk driving, reckless driving, underage driving, bad weather, poor road conditions and equipments failure. Some of these causes are directly manageable by the driver while effects of others must be minimized through safety measures and precautions. Tiredness and sleepiness or distracted drivers result in negligent driving. US Traffic Safety Facts (2008) indicate that most accidents occur during midnight to 3 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays which can suggest drivers are either drunk or sleepy. There are times when drivers tend to speak on cell phones, put on make up and engage in other activities which take away the concentration on driving. What they do not realize is that it only takes a split second for an accident to occur when your eyes leave the road and concentration slacks. Statistics conducted show that 98% of car accidents occur due to a single distracted driver. (1999 -2009 Legal Match). This is the most common cause of road accidents to date. It is estimated that every 30 minutes someone dies due to a drunk driver. (1999- 2009 Legal Match) When under the influence of alcohol the brain signals and body reflexes are not in coordination incapacitating the driver of proper functioning. This causes drivers to either lose control of the car or speed excessively and not able to brake and stop the vehicle when approaching collusion. This can cause harm to people and public property as well. Nowadays, the penalty for drunk driving is severe. It can range from steep fines to spending time in jail to their license being revoked. According to the NHTSA if a person’s blood alcohol level is over .08% they are considered drunk drivers. As per 2008 statistics, out of persons who were killed in traffic crashes in 2008, 32 percent died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes (Traffic safety facts 2008).
Most motorists, especially those in young age groups tend to believe that they are pros when it comes to driving. They believe that they are invincible and their driving prowess can save them from any fatalities. Drivers of age category 16-19 tend to have low risk perceptions and tendency to take unnecessary risks (Teenage Driver Crash Statistics, 2009). Sometimes recklessness can come with too much confidence and disregard of safety measures. There is also what is known as “joy rides” among the teenagers where two or three groups of youth race against each other with little disregards for their safety. There is an age limit to obtaining a license. In most countries it is the age of 18. However, some countries facilitate young drivers by providing them with a learner’s permit. This means an adult has to be present at all times when the minor is driving the car. However, often these minors tend to drive with friends without an adult present. The NHTSA reports claims that 16 to 19 year old are more prone to car accidents than any other age group. This is caused by the fact that they have not yet achieved full competency of driving. Bad weather is another major cause of motor accidents and the fact that teenagers tend to pay less attention and take more risks in skidding and slippery roads or in poor visibility contributes to greater number of accidents in this category (Top Causes of Car Accidents, 2009). Countries that have snow and ice storms during winter are more susceptible to this type of mishap. However, there are other reasons for accidents which occur due to bad weather. Some drivers tend to drive slowly when the roads are bad. This can cause a traffic pile up and other drivers will tend to overtake or pass this driver from the wrong side which might cause an accident. Another common cause of automobile accidents is equipment failure. Regardless of the quality of the manufacturing, there are still instances when breaks fail, tires blowout and suspensions fail. These failures, although most often not the fault of the driver or the manufacturer, can cause fatalities. Most countries have bad roads conditions where debris litter the roads or warnings on road signs are unclear or pot holes and maintenance work being done hamper road traffic. If the driver is not vigilant when maneuvering his car, these obstacles can cause accidents. If traveling in hazardous roads with low safety precautions such as side rails against precipices, the drivers can face fatal accidents by veering off the road. While some of the causes are not in direct control of the driver, there are many ways in which we can reduce and avoid risks of vehicle accidents. There are laws which have been passed to avoid accidents. Following speed limits, road signs and traffic laws can help reduce the risk of accidents majorly. Regardless of these laws it is important for drivers to keep in mind that they are responsible for the lives of themselves and others including passengers, other motorists and pedestrians if they are not careful. Therefore, drive responsibly. Do not drive under the influence of intoxicating substances as drugs and alcohol. Inform the respective road developments authorities if you notice a sign which is not clearly visible or hazardous obstructions are on road ways. Avoid reckless driving at all costs as joy rides can turn in to a life long nightmare with a fatal accident that can leave people dead or paralyzed for life. Adhere to the speed limit and keep your eyes on the road at all times. If these precautionary methods are taken seriously you will be able to save many lives.