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The top 10 causes of car accidents in 2016

Every single year, according to The Association for Safe International Road Travel, over 37,000 Americans die in car accidents and around 2 million are hurt or disabled. The numbers are astounding, and it's critical to look at the reasons these crashes happen. Below are 10 of the main causes:

1. Distracted driving.

Distractions range from texting and driving to talking to passengers to trying to eat a meal behind the wheel.

2. Speeding.

The odds of an accident can climb at excessive speeds because designers build roads with certain limits in mind, and because speed can reduce reaction times.

3. Drunk driving.

Drunk driving is similar in danger to distracted driving, since alcohol prevents drivers from always reacting quickly and noticing hazards on the road.

4. Reckless driving.

Reckless driving is more than just speeding, and it includes actions like cutting off other drivers, tailgating, and passing aggressively.

5. Weather.

Drivers need to take the weather into account when deciding how fast to drive, slowing down in rain, snow, fog, ice and other such conditions.

6. Traffic light errors.

Some drivers intentionally run through red lights while hoping they make the yellow, while others simply don't see the lights at all.

7. Stop sign errors.

Running stops signs is the most dangerous issue, but right-of-way errors also happen at four-way stops when drivers leave the stop at the wrong time.

8. Inexperience.

Teen drivers, who simply haven't been on the road as long and make avoidable mistakes, cause many accidents. Experience only comes with time, but young drivers often cause accidents while gaining that experience.

9. Night driving.

Darkness reduces visibility, which can lead to mistakes - such as not seeing a stopped car ahead of you or not realizing how fast a curve is approaching. Night driving can be especially dangerous when combined with weather events like a thunderstorm or a blizzard.

10. Vehicle defects.

In some cases, drivers aren't actually at fault. Vehicle defects can cause accidents when cars and trucks do not respond as they should. For example, the big GM recalls from a few years ago happened because of ignition issues and the risk of cars stalling in traffic.

It is worth noting that many accidents happen for a variety of reasons. A distracted teen driver, who is driving at night with passengers in the car, is an example of a potentially high-risk driver. The odds of a crash climb for every additional risk factor.

The financial impact of a car accident can be enormous. This is especially true when injuries result in permanent and temporary disabilities. The costs can last for a lifetime, and they can include lost wages and lost earning potential. With millions of nationwide injuries every year, it's critical that people know how to seek compensation.

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Portland, ME 04101

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