Today I would like to discuss the 5 most common driving behaviours that lead to motor vehicle accidents. The information in this blog is based on my experience as a motor vehicle accident injury lawyer, having personally handled many thousands of motor vehicle accident cases.

1. Following too close

The typical rear-end collision is almost entirely avoidable and far too common. These types of collisions usually happen because people are driving too close to the vehicle in front of them. Even when paying close attention to the road ahead and vehicle in front, unexpected events lead to the vehicle in front having to slow or stop suddenly. It could be a person or animal crossing a street or highway, or another vehicle making an unsafe lane change or crossing the path of the vehicle in front of you.  Rear end collisions can be avoided by driving a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, especially in adverse road conditions.

2. Distracted driving

Distracted driving driving texting

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents. It’s most often associated with using a portable hand held mobile device while operating a vehicle. However, it can be any of a number of behaviours such as cellphone use, texting, or checking your e-mail, Facebook or Twitter account. It’s also associated with eating, drinking, personal grooming, and entering information on GPS devices. Distracted driving collisions are avoidable by focusing your attention on driving. You can engage in these activities before or after driving, but never when you are driving.For more information see these websites.

Distract Driving Kills

End Distracted Driving

Alberta Motor Association (AMA) Distract Driving

Distracted driving

3. Speeding

The primary focus of speed limits is road traffic safety.  Speeding reduces your ability to react in time to avoid an emergency event. Additionally, single vehicle rollovers are often caused by losing control of the vehicle due to speeding, especially in adverse weather or road conditions. Impatience, being in a hurry, testing the limits of your vehicle, racing, and road rage incidents are some of the common behaviours associated with speeding. Obviously, collisions due to speeding can be avoided by obeying speed limits.

4. Driving while intoxicated

Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs reduces your ability to focus, concentrate, react, coordinate, and rationalize driving behavior. Intoxicated driving risks injury and life. The most severe injury cases that I handle (fatalities, severe brain injury, severe orthopedic injury, paraplegia, quadriplegia, are due to the negligence of an intoxicated driver. Intoxicated driving is often associated with other negligent or risk-taking behaviours (speeding, following too close, unsafe passing on a highway). Never drive while intoxicated.

5. Unsafe passing on a highway

The majority of my highway collision cases are due to passing another vehicle when it is unsafe to do so. They commonly occur in conjunction with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Speeding is usually a factor. Being unable to properly judge distance of oncoming vehicles, impatience, and risk taking all contribute to this negligent behaviour. Unsafe driving most commonly occurs when highways are busy, such as on long weekend or holidays. The best way to avoid critical injury or death is to be patient and wait until you can pass safely.