8 Common Causes of St. Pete Car Accidents and How to Avoid Them
Car accidents in St. Pete, FL happen every day. To prevent your involvement in one, you must first learn the common causes of such collisions. Here we will discuss several common causes of car accidents and ways to avoid them.
1. Distracted Driving
Drivers make errors and cause accidents most often as a result of distracted driving. Of accidents caused by driving while distracted, 25 percent are due to cell phone use, the biggest majority by far according to the National Safety Council. Studies of the brain show you are physiologically incapable of multi-tasking, or performing two or more tasks concurrently. The brain does not do both tasks at once, but rather handles one at a time while quickly switching back and forth between tasks. This results in your brain tricking you to believe you are adequately performing both tasks, when actually you are no performing either task efficiently.
Avoid the following activities and distractions while driving:
- Talking or texting on cell phone
- Entering in driving directions in a GPS device or cell phone app
- Arguing or fighting
2. Driving While Under the Influence.
Driving while impaired is not only a common cause of car accidents in St. Pete, but is a major source of highway deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol is a factor in over 40 percent of all car crash fatalities. That means almost half of the people who die in a car wreck is due to someone driving while impaired. Consuming alcohol or other brain-altering substances before or while driving causes blurry vision, slow reaction time, and poor decision-making leading to car accidents and fatalities.
Substances to avoid before or while driving:
- Prescription or over-the-counter medications that cause drowsiness
- Illegal or brain-altering substances
3. Parked Cars
Sometimes your car gets dinged while parked. You can avoid a parking lot accident by paying attention to where you are parking. If you have a difficult time squeezing in, the drivers around you will have a difficult time backing out.
How to avoid parking lot scrapes:
- Remain aware of your surroundings
- Pay attention to the size of your vehicle, and avoid squeezing into tiny spaces
- Look behind you when reversing (do not just use rearview mirrors or backup cameras)
- Do not park too closely to others
- Allow yourself extra time to arrive at your destination so you are not rushed to find parking
Your tires can act like water skis on wet roads. This happens when you slam the brakes while hydroplaning, as a thin layer of water forms between your tire and the road when you drive too fast on wet roads. Tire treads are meant to avoid the hydroplane, but don’t work if you are speeding.
How to avoid hydroplaning:
- Drive more slowly during and after rain
- Ensure your tires have proper tread
- Take your foot of the gas pedal when you hydroplane
- Do not stomp the brake, rather apply a lighter, steady pressure
Animals frequently wander onto roadways, especially in wooded or rural areas. Large animals can cause significant damage to your vehicle and bodily injury to you if you hit one. Try to educate yourself to learn when large animals indigenous to your area are mating or migrating so you will know when to really be aware and watch for them on the roads.
How to avoid animal collision:
- Heed animal crossing signs
- Use high beams when traveling in rural areas at night
- Follow the speed limit
6. Side-Impact Collisions
Side-impact collisions, or “T-bone” crashes, occur when one driver fails to heed a stop sign or red light and hits a vehicle with the right of way. These accidents are highly dangerous as the side of your car is less adequate at absorbing impact and protecting passengers.
How to avoid side-impact collisions:
- Look both ways before crossing an intersection
- Stop at red lights and stop signs
- Follow speed limits
- Watch other drivers to make sure they stop
- Purchase a car with side airbags
When one car crashes into the back of another, it is called a rear-ending crash. This type of collision is responsible for 29 percent of all car accidents in St. Pete, FL, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Further, in their 2007 study, the NHTSA found that rear-end collisions were often the result of distracted driving.
How to avoid rear-enders:
- Pay attention to your surroundings
- Put your cell phone away while driving
- Avoid driving while distracted
- Do not take your eyes off the road
Speeding is often a factor in car crashes especially among teen drivers. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, male teen drivers are more likely to speed than female teens and adult drivers.
How to avoid a speed-related accident:
- Follow speed limits
- Slow down when weather is poor or visibility is low
- Educate young drivers on the dangers of speeding