When you hop in your car or SUV on a sunny afternoon, you're not thinking about getting involved in a fatal car accident. You know the possibility exists, but it feels remote. It's something that happens to other people.
You're more concerned with your own life. You're thinking about what you need to buy at the store or when you have to drop the kids off at soccer practice or what time you're supposed to go to work the following day.
The real risk
The sobering truth, however, is that fatal car accidents are very common in the United States. It's always someone else on the news, but your odds of getting involved may be higher than you think. To help you better understand the risks and why these accidents keep happening, here are 10 car accident facts you may not be aware of.
- Minor roads see 35 percent of deadly crashes in which speed is a contributing factor. People often assume the interstate is the most dangerous place to drive because of higher speeds, but the data just doesn't support it.
- Speeding does contribute to a hefty percentage of deadly accidents. You may feel it's all right to break the limit if there are no police cars around, but reports show that 29 percent of deadly wrecks involve speeding.
- Deadly crashes are less common now than they were five decades ago. However, recent reports show they've been trending up.
- Motorcyclists face some of the highest injury risks. Despite the low amount of bikes on the road, 88,000 motorcyclists got hurt in 2013 and 4,668 died.
- Car accidents tend to spike in the summer months. People are on vacation, kids are out of school and overall traffic numbers tend to rise. August is particularly dangerous.
- Alcohol use causes a high percentage of deadly wrecks. Some studies linked around 31 percent of fatal accidents to alcohol use.
- Drivers do pass away more often than passengers in these alcohol-related incidents, at a rate of 65 percent. To be fair, though, every accident involves a driver, whereas many accidents don't involve passengers.
- Deadly DUI accidents are most common at night. They were four times as common in one study. The weekends also see more crashes than weekdays.
- The total cost of all of these accidents is staggering: an estimated $871 billion every single year.
- Rush hour carries an incredible -- and, for many drivers, unavoidable -- degree of risk. One study noted that a full 16 percent of these deadly wrecks occurred from 3 to 6 in the afternoon.
As you can see, deadly accidents strike frequently, and they often impact families that never thought it would happen to them. If your family gets caught up in such a tragic situation, it's very important to know your legal options.