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Common Dangers of U.S. Roadways and Tips for Staying Safe



Jumping behind the wheel of a vehicle is something that long-term drivers tend to take for granted. Those who have been behind the wheel for years often fall into their daily motion when it comes to driving, with all of the potential dangers of the road being a small thought in the back of their mind. However, the roadways in the United States can be quite dangerous, which is why reminding oneself of those dangers, every once in a while, can make a person a more cautious driver.

Important Car Accident Statistics to Consider

As mentioned, driving for years can often result in just going through the motions every time you get behind the wheel. To put the dangers of the roadway back into perspective, however, it’s crucial to look at some current statistics on travel via automobile:

Which States Have the Most Car Accidents?

The United States as a whole tends to have an average of five million automobile accidents on a yearly basis, but this figure can be broken down even further by individual states. Those who are living in the following states are also living in an area that has the most car crashes across the country, specifically with an emphasis on fatalities:

  • Mississippi
  • Wyoming
  • Arkansas
  • South Carolina
  • Montana

Despite not having the largest populations compared to some other states in the country, the above five states represent some of the most dangerous for drivers.

How Many Traffic Fatalities Occur Yearly?

While data for 2022 is still being calculated, the number of dead individuals resulting from motor vehicle crashes in 2021 was 42,939 people. The economic cost of all of these crashes totaled nearly $340 billion, going to show just how dangerous and costly car accidents can turn out to be.

Who is Most at Risk in a Car Accident?

From an age perspective, new drivers are nearly twice as likely to be involved in an accident and injured while driving as compared to their peers. Youth and a lack of experience are the driving factors behind this statistic. Going further, women have a higher chance than men at being injured or killed in a car accident due to a number of factors, with inadequate female simulated crash test dummies being the leading cause.

5 Most Common Dangers on the Road

Understanding the common statistics of car accidents is one thing but learning about the leading causes for accidents is another. The following five dangers collectively result in millions of car accidents on a yearly basis:

1. Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Nobody should ever get behind the wheel of a vehicle when under the influence, but sadly some people choose to make this decision. Drivers under the influence have impaired judgement that often leads to extremely dangerous car accidents with other drivers on the road.

2. Poor weather conditions on the road

Driving in weather conditions which are unfamiliar to a person is a quick way to cause a car accident. For example, heavy rain, snow, torrential winds, and much more are all examples of unique weather conditions that require added skill. Not having that skill can result in a wreck.

3. Maintenance issues with cars

Many people often have common questions regarding car accidents with one of the most common being can maintenance problems cause an accident, or are they unrelated most of the time. Maintenance issues that have not been taken care of can certainly cause an accident on roadways, with breakdowns leading to disastrous consequences for vehicles directly behind your own.

4. Hazards in the middle of the road

While roads are typically clear of hazards, items falling off of cars, animals in the road, or a slew of other items can all quickly become hazards. As drivers attempt to take evasive action, they can accidentally cause a wreck.

5. Poorly constructed roadways

Finally, for those who are in a part of the country where roads are less developed, the potholes and other dangerous issues with the roads can lead to accidents. Whether it be a vehicle breaking due to the road or someone taking evasive action to avoid a portion of the road, accidents can quickly arise.

Staying Safe on the Road: Top Tips to Keep in Mind

Staying safe on the road is all about taking the proper precautions to ensure you don’t find yourself in a position where an accident could occur. To that end, the following tips should always be at the top of mind anytime you get behind the wheel of a car:  

  • Never Drive Under the Influence: It should go without saying that getting behind the wheel even slightly under the influence is a dangerous and risky choice. Always stay sober when you need to drive.
  • Take Care of Preventative Maintenance: The best way to avoid a breakdown on the road is to handle preventative maintenance on your car to inspect for any issues that may arise.
  • Pack an Emergency Kit for Your Vehicle: Should you become stranded somewhere with an injury, having an emergency kit in the back of your vehicle with medical supplies, water, and nonperishable food can be lifesaving.
  • Handle Distractions Before Leaving: Whether it’s sending one last text, finishing the meal you ordered on your way home, or simply wrapping up a conversation with somebody, take the time to handle all distractions before you leave.

The Bottom Line

Staying safe on the road is about more than just following the rules. As a driver, you only control your actions and not the actions of others, which means you need to constantly be defensive when driving. Keep an eye on others on the road and watch for any signs that an accident may be about to occur so that you can take evasive action. In the event an accident does occur that was out of your control due to someone else’s negligence, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to take a look at your case and to fight for you in court.

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