Car crashes are a daily occurrence in Austin. In fact, data from the Texas Crash Records Information System reports 13,650 car accidents in Austin in 2021 alone. These crashes resulted in at least 116 deaths and thousands of injuries.
The truth is most of these crashes were the result of negligent driving behaviors and could have been prevented. Below we will look at each of the leading causes of car accidents in Austin and how to avoid them.
Speeding is one of the top causes of car accidents in Austin. It is also the leading cause of crashes in Texas and across the United States.
Not only does speeding increase stopping distance and leave you with less reaction time. Speeding also means the impact of a collision will have more force, resulting in greater injuries and an increased risk of death. In fact, for every 10 mph of increased speed, the risk of dying in a crash doubles.
Drivers should remember that speeding is not limited to driving above the posted speed limit. Speeding also includes traveling faster than is safe for current traffic and weather conditions.
The posted speed limit is the maximum safe speed for a particular road under ideal conditions. Drivers are expected to reduce their speed for bad weather, low visibility, excessive traffic, and damaged roads. Texas even has a “Basic Speed Law” stating this, and drivers can be cited for speeding even when traveling at or beneath the posted speed limit.
Always obey the posted speed limit and always “drive for the conditions.” If it is rainy or foggy, slow down a bit to compensate for the poor conditions.
Distracted Driving and Driver Inattention
Distracted driving is a growing problem in Austin. Even with recent laws and ordinances restricting actions like texting and driving and talking on the cell phone while driving, distracted driving crashes continue to occur.
But distracted driving is not a new issue by any means, and cell phones are not the only distraction drivers face. Other common distractions include:
- Adjusting the radio
- Adjusting heat and air controls
- Eating food
- Interacting with GPS and navigation systems
- Eating food or drinking a beverage
- Applying makeup
- Interacting with passengers
Distractions can also exist outside the vehicle, in the form of billboards, pedestrians, and even other accidents.
When driving, make a conscious effort to keep focused on the task at hand. People can often forget just how dangerous driving can be, even on the best days. Do not put yourself and others at even greater risk. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
Driving Under the Influence
Whether drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence has represented a top cause of serious accidents in Austin for years. It is also a behavior that occurs far to often, with the average drunk driver driving under the influence 80 times before their first arrest.
Drugs and alcohol greatly reduce a driver’s ability to recognize and respond to potential hazards in an efficient manner. Lack of focus and slowed reaction times become critical when you only have moments to avoid a crash.
Moreover, driving under the influence typically accompanies other dangerous driving behaviors. Lowered inhibitions mean drivers are more likely to speed, drive aggressively, or attempt dangerous driving maneuvers.
Driving under the influence is entirely preventable. Simply do get behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Driving under the influence also included legal prescription drugs and even over-the-counter drugs like NyQuil. If it makes it harder for you to drive safely, you can be arrested for driving under the influence or causing a DUI crash.
Aggressive driving covers a variety of behaviors. Simply put, if your actions or behavior put other people at risk, you are engaging in aggressive driving. These actions may include:
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Flashing headlights
- Honking excessively
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Passing on the shoulder
- Cutting off other drivers
In extreme situations, aggressive driving can escalate into bumping and crashing into other vehicles and brandishing weapons.
Do not let the actions of others control your driving behaviors. If you find yourself becoming upset, take a moment to pull into a parking lot or rest stop for a breather.
How to Hold Dangerous Drivers Accountable
If we can reduce all the above factors down to a single source, we find that the number cause of car accidents in Austin is dangerous drivers. When a driver’s reckless behavior results in a crash, the victims of that crash do have the ability to hold them accountable.
If you have been injured in a car crash in or around Austin, call Thomas J. Henry Law. For the past 30 years, Thomas J. Henry has fought to protect the rights of car accident victims. Over that time, we have helped thousands of clients receive fair compensation for their accidents, injuries, and damages.
Call now for your FREE Case Review. Attorneys are standing by 24/7, nights and weekends.