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Each day, an average of 3,000-plus people die in traffic-related accidents with upwards of 50 million others injured every year. Many of these accidents could have been avoided had the driver taken the proper precautions. Here are the four most common causes for accidents that occur while operating a vehicle and how you can minimize your risk.

Distracted Driving

Driving while distracted results in the injury of hundreds of thousands of people every year. These distractions range from grabbing a bite to eat while driving to work to applying lipstick in the rearview mirror. However, electronic distractions have played an increasingly huge part in recent years in both fender benders and accidents resulting in fatalities. Texting, calling and other uses of mobile electronic devices leads to eyes being taken off the road, hands off the steering wheel, and the mind taken off the task of operating a motor vehicle. Turn the phone off while driving or, at the very least, wait until you have arrived at your destination before responding to any calls or messages.

Driving While Impaired

Alcohol is a variable in nearly one third of all traffic-related deaths and both legal and illegal drugs play a part in more than 15 percent of this type of fatality. Despite legal limits, it takes only a slight bit of impairment to affect judgment and the ability to drive at full capacity. If you find yourself indulging any at all, be sure to have a designated driver or call for a taxi to drive you home.

Speeding

It is easy to make up for being late by shaving off a few minutes on the road with accelerated speeds. Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that speeding is not only one of the primary factors in traffic-related accidents, but also in fatalities on the road. Do yourself and others a favor and leave a few moments early to avoid the urge to rush. Otherwise, remind yourself that you may be a bit late but will have better chances of arriving alive if you resist edging over the speed limit.

Bad Weather

Inclement weather can impair even the most seasoned driver’s ability to drive. Poor visibility and treacherous road conditions lead to thousands of accidents, injuries and fatalities every year. Even the best anti-lock brakes cannot offer a guarantee to keep you from a weather-related collision. Avoid getting onto the roads when bad weather is on the radar and pull over if you find yourself caught in unsafe conditions.

While there are other causes of driving accidents such as reckless driving, tailgating and auto defects, these four make most of traffic-related issues and result in the majority of traffic-related injuries and deaths. Be preemptive in making good choices when getting behind the wheel to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road.

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