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Monday, April 2, 2012

Common Factors Contributing to Single Vehicle Crashes

We continue to read stories about teens being killed or injured when their car left the road and crashed into a tree or some other type of stationary object. In our weekly blogs we keep harping on this issue but teens still continue to die in single car crashes more than any other type of crash.

There are several factors that lead to a Single Vehicle Crash:

Two lane roads – Most of these crashes happen on two lane country or suburban roads. People fear the danger of high speed interstate highways but most crashes occur on two lane country roads. This type of road leads to a lot of crashes because they are narrow, with little room for escape; there are a lot of no-passing zones that lead impatient people to take chances and there are a lot of curves that a speeding drivers fail to negotiate.

Speed – Speed is primarily responsible in these types of crashes. Drivers drive too fast for conditions and, when there is a sharp curve or an obstacle in the road, they can't slow fast enough to stay on the road. High speed gives the driver less time to react and adds to the crash forces.

Distractions – There are too many driving distractions that tempt teens to pay less attention to the road ahead. In quite a few of these crashes there were three or more teen passengers in the car. The more teen passengers a teen driver has, the more distractions there are for the driver. Add cell phones, texting, and eating to the mix and it becomes too overwhelming for the driver to deal with.

Alcohol – In several of these crashes alcohol was a factor. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009, 29 percent of the speeding drivers under age 21 who were involved in fatal crashes, also had a BAC of .08. That is almost one-third of all the fatal crashes.

Seat Belts – According to NHTSA data, in 2009, only 49 percent of speeding passenger vehicle drivers under age 21 who were involved in fatal crashes were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Any one of these factors by themselves can lead to a deadly crash. Combined, the chances of a deadly crash increase exponentially.

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