Somebody said that if accidents were completely predictable hence avoidable, insurance companies would have long been out of business. Well, who cares about insurance companies? If accidents could be predicted and avoided, that would save thousands of lives across the country.
With that as the goal many states have started using accident prediction programs. For instance, neighboring Missouri has already started looking into accident prediction systems that are driven by big data and have worked well in other states. But, Kansas has yet to make such a move.
This means, for now when it comes to accident prediction and avoidance, the state does not have your back. But, fret not! In the words of the legendary Nostradamus, if you know the future, it can be changed. Along those lines, if you know where danger lurks, being just a tad bit more cautious can go a long way in preventing a mishap. So, continue reading to know about the most likely places for car accidents and how to avoid risks in these areas.
Closer to home does not always mean safer!
You must have heard about familiarity breeding contempt; well in this case, familiarity breeds danger. A lot of motorists believe that the drudgery of long road trips and the twists and turns of new routes pose the biggest threat.
In reality, more than half of all auto accidents surprisingly occur within a 25-mile radius of home. If you are wondering how that is even possible, think about the many times when you get out of the traffic on the freeway and the next thing you know you are waiting for the garage door to open.
That is called driving on muscle memory and it is a very common phenomenon, particularly when you are on routes and in neighborhoods that you know like the back of your hand. What happens is that you fall into your comfort zone, which sends your active driving skills out of the window, so much so that often you may not even remember the entire ride.
The simplest and most effective way to avoid accidents in the vicinity of your home is to, of course, stay alert. But, you would be surprised at how many people find it hard to focus on their driving. So, do away with all distractions, particularly close to your home, and give the road ahead your undivided attention. After all, you may know the road and the neighborhood, but you never know when a dog or a child may come darting into the road!
Hazards of the unknown
If the road close to home is not safe, unknown routes and paths are no better. Auto mishaps that are weather, traffic and road surface related often occur on unfamiliar paths. To navigate your way through the risks that await you on unknown roads, you will need to take a two pronged approach.
First, educate yourself about your surroundings before the trip, and second, buckle up and give the act of driving your complete focus.
The most dangerous spots on the road
The intersection: Possibly the most expected inclusion in this list, intersections are hotbeds for car crashes, and why not? When vehicles are coming from all directions, accidents are bound to happen, particularly if there isn’t a traffic light to regulate the flow of cars. In Kansas alone, approximately 11,000 accidents occur at intersections each year.
Intersections are notorious for side impact collisions, which often occur when motorists try to cross a road or take a left turn. The way to avoid these accidents is to slow down and keep your eyes open for the vehicles around you. Give yourself more time and space to make that turn so you can be mindful of your safety.
Parking lots: The risks of getting into a high-speed crash in a parking area are rare but the same cannot be said about fender benders. In fact, parking lots are “THE” spot for scraped paint, side dents and bent bumpers.
With so many cars around, no traffic lights or rules, pedestrians all over, shopping carts everywhere and motorists trying to navigate through compact spaces, is it any wonder that approximately 4000 crashes occur in parking lots all over Kansas? The only way to safely deal with the chaos of the parking area is to keep your eyes and focus on the road and avoid sudden maneuvers.
Stop lights: This may come as a surprise for many but stop lights are notorious for the maximum number of rear end collisions and multiple vehicle crashes. All it takes for a pileup is one motorist who fails to stop in time for the car ahead. A chain reaction becomes inevitable if this crash takes place a couple of feet away from the stop light. An easy way to prevent such accidents is to slow down well in advance, which will give you more control over the brakes.
Urban roads: It is not highways or rural roadways that spell the most trouble for motorists but city streets with a massive 32,000 crashes recorded each year on urban roads. In fact, urban streets have the highest motor vehicle crash and fatality figures of all road types.
This is understandable because motorists have to deal with traffic jams and a high volume of vehicles along with pedestrians, bicycles and more. Of these city streets, two way undivided roads are the most dangerous, accounting for over 8,000 mishaps.
In fact, they are prime locations for head-on collisions as there is little margin for error and no barricade to keep cars from drifting to one side of the center line and straight onto traffic coming in the opposite direction. Head-on crashes are also common when one vehicle tries to pass another by darting to the side and heading full speed into oncoming traffic. Maintaining safe distance between vehicles and staying in your lane and on your side of the road will help you to be safe on urban streets.
Rural highways: If urban roads have the highest motor vehicle accident rate, rural highways are notorious for the most number of crash fatalities. Although there are fewer vehicles, damaged surface conditions, debris, large vehicles and unavailability of immediate medical care all contribute to the fatality figures. Planning ahead and paying close attention to the road will help to keep you safe when traversing through rural areas.
In a nut shell, the more vigilant you are and lower will be your chances of being in an auto accident. Although not all accidents are preventable nor can you control the behavior of all motorists around you, if you are attentive, you can take quick and decisive action to prevent a crash or at least minimize the damage.
Now that you know about the likely accident hotspots, don’t put your guard down and take extra precautions in these areas!