According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), more than 3,600 people died in Texas as a result of a motor vehicle accident in 2019. In addition, more than 15,800 people were seriously injured in one.
While you might know some of the most common causes of car wrecks in Austin TX, others aren't as obvious. Today, we're sharing nine of the top ones to understand.
The more you know, the better prepared you can be on the road. Learning what to avoid can help you become a safer and more defensive driver as you navigate Austin's roadways.
1. Distracted Driving
The same TXDOT research reveals that 377 people died last year in crashes attributed to distracted driving.
There's a reason why this has been one of the most car wreck causes for decades: We have more gadgets and distractions than ever before. From adjusting your car's entertainment system to looking at your smartphone, distractions abound.
The safest route is to put your devices away before you get behind the wheel. That means no calling, texting, reading, or grooming on the road.
2. Drunk Driving
Did you know that drunk driving in Texas accounts for one-quarter of all crash-related deaths?
Last year, the TXDOT reported that 886 people died as a result of a motor vehicle crash involving a driver under the influence of alcohol. The Department also reports that more drunk driving accidents occur between 2 a.m. and 2:59 a.m. than any other time of day.
If you've been drinking, call a ride-sharing service or head home with a sober friend. You should also never get in the car with someone who is inebriated.
3. Reckless Driving
Rolling through stop signs, switching lanes too quickly, and engaging in road rage can all lead to serious or fatal traffic accidents.
While it might be tempting to ignore the rules of the road when you're on a country lane or in a rush, it's important to remember why they're there in the first place: to protect not only you but everyone around you.
Another report from the TXDOT shows that 148 speeding drivers were killed in Texas in 2019. In addition, their carelessness cost another 39 Texas passengers their lives.
Speed limits are not suggestions. They are carefully calculated requirements that are designed to keep our state roadways safe. By following them, you're doing your part to keep these numbers down.
5. Adverse Weather
It's no secret that Austin and humidity go hand-in-hand. While the summers can be oppressively hot, the winters tend to be short, chilly and windy.
Any or all of these weather conditions can make it more difficult to stay focused and in control on the road. The TXDOT reveals that of all the adverse conditions affecting Texas drivers, a few of the most dangerous ones include:
- Rain: Responsible for 123 fatal crashes in 2019
- Fog: Responsible for 52 fatal crashes in 2019
- Blowing sand or snow: Responsible for 1 fatal crash in 2019
Check the weather before you head out so you can plan accordingly. If it looks like driving conditions will be difficult, it's best to wait until the weather changes if possible.
How many drivers have pressed forward and driven onward, even while their eyelids are drooping? Maybe you have a super-early commute to work, or you don't leave the office until late at night.
While it might be common to push past exhaustion, tired driving accounted for 312 fatal crashes in Texas in 2019.
The threat of highway hypnosis is real. If you get a little drowsy while driving, pull into a safe space and get some rest before revving back up. It's also smart to plan your drive during the hours that you know you'll have the most energy.
7. Driving in the Dark
While Austin might be filled with lights, there are plenty of unlit rural roads around the city. If you're driving at night, this lack of visibility can make you more susceptible to crashing.
Again, the TXDOT has insight into just how dangerous nighttime driving can be. In addition to the 782 Texas crashes that occurred in the daylight in 2019, a total of 790 occurred during darker times of day.
If possible, try to schedule your driving to occur during the daytime. If you're driving at night, be sure to remain extra alert. If you can't see where you're going, pull over safely and call for help.
8. Defective Vehicle Components
From turn signals and trailer brakes to steering mechanisms and tires, there are many different components that make up your vehicle.
If even one of those becomes compromised, it could affect the safety and integrity of your entire vehicle.
The best way to stay on top of any recalls associated with your vehicle? Make sure to visit your dealership mechanic for regular maintenance checks! They'll receive timely notices any time there's a recall associated with your vehicle and can help you respond the right way.
9. Driving Improperly
When you're lost, you're more likely to make mistakes on the road. This might mean changing lanes before it's safe, driving the wrong way, or making an improper turn.
The same even applies if you're cruising down roads that you know like the back of your hand. When you're ultra-comfortable with a route, it's all too easy to make careless errors, such as drifting lanes.
Always stay aware of the road signs around you, especially when traveling in unfamiliar areas. Some irregularities, such as one-way streets, can take you by surprise when you don't stay diligent.
Find Help After Car Wrecks in Austin TX
There isn't one single cause behind a traffic accident. Rather, each one is different and can be traced to a myriad of contributing factors.
If you've been injured in an Austin-area wreck, we're here to help.
Our personal injury lawyers are well-versed in helping clients navigate the legal process following car wrecks in Austin TX. We'll help you make a case, fight for your rights, and receive the compensation you deserve.
When you're ready to get started, reach out to our team today. We're here to serve you around the clock, with locations in Austin, Bryan, Waco and Killeen.