BY SAMALI BITALA
The media in Uganda and Kenya has reported a lot on road accidents in the past one month; it is unprecedented.
Getting into a car accident can lead to several unwanted consequences, including death, permanent injuries, loss of earnings, etc. Why not do everything you can to avoid a car accident in the first place then? Here at Bitala & Co. Advocates, we want to help you understand the causes of car accidents, and therefore help you learn preventative measures for automobile accidents.
From the teenage driver who just got her license, to the senior driver with close to 50 years’ experience, let our Top 20 causes of car accidents be your guide towards prevention of car accidents.
For the top causes of motorcycle accidents:
1. Distracted Driving
You would be surprised that the number one cause of car accidents in East Africa is distracted driving; not a criminal who drove drunk or accelerated in a red light. Distractions happen when a driver shifts his or her attention from the road, usually to talk on the phone, reply to or send a text message on the phone or even to eat food.
Most of us have experienced this, especially when using the daily commuter matatus. Many drivers ignore the speed limit and usually drive up to 40 kilometres per hour over the limit. Speed kills. Driving over and above the prescribed speed limit is an easy way to cause a car accident.
Note that the faster you driver, the lesser the time you will have to prevent a car accident.
3. Drunk Driving
Drinking alcohol or any other intoxicating substance makes you lose the ability to focus and impairs most of your brain functionalities. It is therefore illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
If you must drink alcohol, do not drive. If you must be in a vehicle, please get a designated sober driver to operate the vehicle.
4. Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is a combination of many things a car driver may do on the road. For example, unnecessary speeding may be termed as reckless driving. Changing lanes quickly or tailgating are both careless acts which usually lead to accidents. Looks out for impatient drivers during traffic and be sure to take extra care around them
Heavy rainfall usually affects the roads. Water creates a slick dangerous surface on the roads which may cause vehicles to spin out of control or skid while braking. It is therefore advisable that you drive at a moderate speed when it rains and with a lot of care. If the rain gets intense, please do not drive.
6. Ignoring traffic lights
Red means stop. Most times, drivers treat the red sign as a slowdown sign. This disregard of traffic signs usually leads to car accidents.
7. Running Stop Signs
Stop signs should never be ignored, but when they are, serious car accidents are often the result. Each year, thousands of car accidents occur because one driver ran a stop sign. Many rollover accidents and side-impact car accidents result from drivers that run stop signs. You should always look both ways when proceeding through a stop sign.
8. Teenage Drivers
Accidents caused by teenagers are usually due to recklessness and lack of experience.
Some of the youth drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs which are all a recipe for disaster on the road.
9. Night Driving
Driving in the daylight is safer than driving at night. Driving at night nearly doubles the risk of an occurrence of a car accident. When a driver cannot see what is happening on the road ahead, the driver is definitely unable to anticipate any thing as he or she drives towards it.
As is always said, “As the sun goes down, your awareness of the road and cars around you must go up”.
10. Design Defects
No product is ever made perfectly, and cars are no different. Automobiles have hundreds of parts, and any of those defective parts can cause a serious car accident. Many automakers have had problems with design defects in the past, including Ford Explorer rollover accidents and Toyota’s unintended acceleration crashes.
11. Wrong-Way Driving and improper turns
Everyone has lapses in judgment, but when behind the wheel of a car, those clouded instincts can be deadly. You can turn down a street thinking it is a normal right turn, when in actuality, it is a one-way street in the opposite direction. To prevent a car accident, always look for signs and obey the proper right-of-way before you make a turn.
12. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs
It’s not only alcohol that is dangerous when mixed with drivers on the road. Drugs, both legal and illegal, can impair your ability to fully function as a driver. If your mind isn’t clear and you don’t have complete control over your body, getting behind the wheel can lead to serious car accidents.
13. Road Rage
Most drivers have been angry at another driver for one reason or another.
Do not let rage take the better part of you. Tailgating another driver in anger or speeding past another driver only to pull in front of them and brake is most likely to cause a would be avoidable car accident.
There are places where there are bits of a road in potholes. This leaves motorists at a risk of losing control of a car or having a tyre puncture.
When you see a pothole when driving, take extra care by paying more attention to the road. Also, reduce on your speed.
15. Drowsy Driving
Drowsiness can be caused by fatigue, hunger, disease and some medication. If someone is struggling to keep awake, it’s very difficult for them to drive safely.
If you find yourself wanting to sleep on the wheel, pull over at a safe place and take a power nap.
16. Tyre puncture
Tyre punctures can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, more so if you are driving a bigger vehicle.
When you get a tyre puncture, maintain control of your vehicle and pull over safely to avoid a serious car accident.
There are seasons when it’s foggy and one can hardly see even the vehicle in front. Good thing, fog is not an everyday occurrence. To avoid car accidents when it’s foggy, use your headlight, not your head beams so that you can see clearly.
18. Deadly Corners
Some people call them dead man’s curves, but everyone should be careful when approaching a corner. Many motorists have lost control of their cars along dangerous corners and lost their lives in the car accident. So when you approach these signs take head of the posted speed limit and drive cautiously to avoid a car accident.
19. Animal Crossings
Whereas human beings are required to know the rules of using the road, animals (wild or domesticated) do not know these rules and neither can they be taught to animals. Some accidents happen when an animal suddenly wades into the road.
Be cautious when you see an animal crossing sign or when driving near national parks or game reserves.
20. Street Racing
With an influence from the movie world, especially the Fast and the Furious movie franchise, street racing is an underground culture of fast cars and deadly car accidents. It however happens here even amongst vehicles that are not necessarily fast, vehicles that are even of public service. This may result into car accidents that are fatal.
If the unfortunate happens and you get into a car accident, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek legal representation quickly. Our experienced team of legal practitioners will help you avoid costly mistakes many people make when dealing with insurance companies who are often looking out for their best interests, not yours.
Don’t you think you should do everything in your power to maximize your settlement?
If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault and believe that you deserve compensation, then contact our law offices right away and find out how we can help you. We look forward to providing good advice for your case.
This article was originally written for our newsletter, The Deuteronomy