The Colorado State Patrol is the only traffic enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the entire state. As such, it has a unique window into the most common factors in Colorado automobile accidents.
Using statistics from past investigations covering a period of five years from 2004 to 2008, the Patrol released a report to give Colorado drivers a window into the state’s greatest road risks.
Coming in as risk number one was driving over the speed limit. Excessive speeds can easily lead to a car crash, as both the speeder and other drivers aren’t given enough time to react.
Speeding caused over 5,000 accidents, with over 4,500 incidents of damage to property in addition to 655 injuries and 28 fatalities.
Distracted driving came in at number two, causing 4,961 accidents, most with property damage. Injuries resulting from distracted driving totaled 779 total, and there were 33 fatalities.
A driver is considered “distracted” anytime he or she is doing something other than paying attention to the road. This can include eating, playing with the radio, using a tablet, cell phone or other mobile tech device, and applying makeup.
As technology has become more and more prevalent in society, distracted driving is an even greater danger. CBS Denver reported that a person who is texting and driving is an estimated 23 times more likely to have an accident than a person who isn’t.
Currently, Colorado law bans texting or other data entry into a mobile device while driving, but it is still an all-too-common behavior.
Crossing into another driver’s path by cutting or changing lanes and following too closely also ranked high as crash factors in the Patrol’s study.
Both moves reduce reaction time and can cause a chain effect. For example, picture three cars driving in a straight line, one in front of the other.
The first driver has to stop suddenly, causing the rear driver to crash into the middle car because he or she was following too closely. This, in turn, crashes the middle car into the first one as well.
Always give other drivers enough room. According to State Farm, the “three second rule” is a general guideline that can help you keep a safe distance.
When the car in front of you passes a fixed object, start counting. You should not reach the object yourself until at least three seconds have passed.
For larger vehicles, such as commercial trucks, stay even farther back. Bigger vehicles typically have a slower reaction time than smaller passenger cars.
Driving under the influence has long been a factor in car crashes, particularly those with tragic outcomes.
On the Patrol report, driving under the influence was pegged as responsible for 1,546 total accidents, with 553 injuries and 78 deaths. DUI was the factor producing the largest amount of accident fatalities.
One way you can stay safe on the road is by keeping these common crash factors in mind and avoiding these types of situations. By being mindful of the biggest risks, you’ll have a better chance of mitigating them. Learn more at: www.zanerhardenlaw.com.