To some degree, there’s always a risk when driving a motor vehicle. Many accidents involve two vehicles, and only one driver has to make a mistake for a crash to occur. Human error is the top cause of car accidents, after all.
But there’s also evidence that things may be getting worse. Drivers are engaging in more reckless behavior now than they used to. It could be that the drivers around you are honestly more dangerous than they were in the past, so your own risks of being involved in a serious crash have gone up through no fault of your own.
Increasing fatal accident trends
Fatal accidents in the United States have now been climbing for about three years in a row. 2020 saw a 7% increase, for instance, and 2021 saw another 10% increase. This is surprising because the number of fatalities usually goes down every year. The trend is moving in the wrong direction. To add to the intrigue, traffic levels dropped over the last few years, but fatality rates increased. The roads were more dangerous with fewer cars on them, rather than becoming slightly safer.
Researchers have, thus, realized that reckless behavior is on the rise. Drivers are distracted by their phones, breaking the speed limit, driving under the influence and failing wearing their seatbelt as often as they used to. All of these behaviors – especially a general increase in speeding, perhaps driven by the lower traffic levels themselves – has meant that fatal accident rates are going up, even though there are fewer cars on the road than there were only a few years ago.
What can be done?
The best thing you can do in the face of this reality is to become a defensive driver. Assume that drivers around you are going to make mistakes, and do what you can to avoid dangerous situations. Reduce your own speed and increase your following distances.
But even that doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be injured in an accident that someone else causes while they are driving recklessly. If you are injured, don’t be afraid to seek legal guidance in order to pursue the justice that you deserve.