The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Ocala, FL
Bill Allen | November 3, 2023 | Car Accidents
Every time you pull out of your driveway and get on the road, whether in Ocala, Florida, or anywhere in the country, you’re taking on some level of risk. Though being a safe driver yourself might reduce your chances of getting into an accident, it’s always wise to know what other potential hazards are out there.
With that said, what are the most common causes of collisions in the area? This blog post will fill you in.
The CDC reports that in the United States, nine people are killed each day by crashes in which a driver is distracted.
A few dangerous distractions include the following:
- Multitasking (adjusting mirrors, doing makeup, or another task while driving)
- Talking on the phone
- Choosing music on an infotainment system
- Setting up a GPS route
Driver distraction is rampant. Although you can’t control what other drivers do, you can make a conscious effort to avoid these distractions yourself – thereby lowering your risk of getting into an accident.
Texting And Driving
Another major distraction — intentionally left out of the list above — is texting while driving, which is so notable that it stands as a common cause of collisions all its own.
Under Florida law, it’s illegal to text while driving (or to otherwise use your hands to manipulate a phone or similar device), as the results of texting and driving can be devastating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that texting as you drive is six times more dangerous than driving while drunk.
That is undoubtedly a bold statistic, so you may wonder what it is about texting while driving that makes the act far more dangerous than other types of distracted driving.
In general, the worst kinds of distractions pull your attention from the road in three ways:
- Visually: Actually causing you to take your eyes off the road
- Cognitively: Making it harder to mentally focus on driving
- Manually: Causing a need to remove a hand (or both hands) from the steering wheel
With all of that said, texting distracts drivers in all three ways. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that — because so many people casually text while driving — it continues to cause many car accidents across the country.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
In 2022, Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 3,693 crashes involving impairment from alcohol, 151 of which involved impairment from both alcohol and drugs, while another 246 involved impairment from drugs alone. Both substances can get in the way of focus and judgment, impairing your coordination and dramatically slowing reaction times.
You may sometimes hear about sleep-deprived truckers causing car accidents, but the fact of the matter is that drowsy driving can affect anyone. Falling asleep at the wheel is obviously dangerous, but driving while sleep-deprived is also incredibly risky.
In fact, drowsy driving actually has a lot in common with drunk driving, as sleepy drivers have poor focus and slowed reaction times.
In any case, the CDC has outlined several risk factors for drowsy driving:
- Driving in the late afternoon, as well as between midnight and 6 a.m.
- Working a late or long shift
- Not getting enough sleep
- Driving a commercial truck
- Using prescription medications that make you tired or drowsy
- Having an untreated sleep disorder (like narcolepsy or sleep apnea)
Unfortunately, some drivers take to the road when they’re both drowsy and under the influence, which makes for an immensely dangerous combination: Alcohol worsens the effects of drowsiness, and drowsiness can make alcohol have a greater effect on someone.
Though the single most common cause of collision cases is difficult to determine, many serious crashes involve speeding as at least some sort of factor. The NHTSA reports that in 2021, speeding played a role in 29% of fatal car crashes.
Speeding is dangerous for several reasons. For one, it makes it more likely that a driver loses control of the vehicle. It also increases a car’s stopping distance: If you’re driving 20 mph over the speed limit and see a stopped car ahead, you might not have time to bring your vehicle to a full stop before you crash.
Driving too fast also makes the results of any crashes worse. For example, if you hit a telephone pole while driving at just five mph, you might get a small dent in your vehicle, and you’re not likely to be injured, but hitting that same telephone pole at 80 mph means your car is likely to be totaled, and you’re more likely to suffer serious injuries.
Aggressive Driving or Road Rage
Like speeding, the most common cause of a collision isn’t road rage, but aggressive driving still makes crashes much more likely.
Though it may look different in different situations, aggressive driving often involves the following behaviors:
- Deliberately cutting off other drivers
- Running red lights
- Intentionally blocking other drivers as they try to pass or change lanes
Aggressive driving is dangerous, but sheer road rage is even worse. Compared to the former, road rage usually includes at least some of the following behaviors:
- Ramming other cars on purpose
- Forcing cars off the road
- Throwing objects out the window at other cars
- Brandishing weapons
- Yelling or making threatening gestures
- Deliberately sideswiping other vehicles
Fortunately, extreme road rage is relatively uncommon, but out-of-control drivers can still cause serious injury and even death (on top of vehicle damage).
Staying Mindful of Risk Factors on the Road
Driving is a part of life, but that makes too many people forget that the road can be a dangerous place. Most accidents are caused by a combination of factors, but those mentioned above at least play a role in the vast majority of crashes.
Regardless, no one likes to think about being seriously injured in a car accident. If you know the risks and do what you can to drive as safely as possible, you can reduce your chances of being involved in a severe crash.
Contact Our Ocala Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida: