The following blog article was updated in January 2022.
Every time you get into the car, whether as the driver or passenger, there is a risk you will be involved in a car accident.
Will someone rear-end you as you come to a stop? Does the car next to you come into your lane without looking for your vehicle? How many drunk drivers are on the road adding to the risks? Better yet, can you trust that the car next to you isn’t reading on their phone instead of watching the road?
The risks are there daily, but that doesn’t mean that every day or even every month you will be involved in an accident.
Accidents do happen daily in the United States. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, approximately 2.35 million people are injured annually in car accidents and more than 1 million days are spent in hospitals each year from these accidents says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of course, you need to realize that the United States has approximately 328.8 million people according to the U.S. Census. Therefore, the odds that you will join the 2.35 million injured per year are considerably low. This doesn’t mean that you should drive haphazardly and assume that the odds will forever be in your favor either.
Instead, it is about being an informed driver and conscious of the risks around you so that you can avoid becoming next year’s statistic.
Looking at the Facts – What Washington State Residents Should Know about Car Accidents Nationwide
The CDC states that car accidents are the leading cause of injury in the United States – and by far one of the most expensive. In one study, they found that for every one person killed in a motor vehicle accident, eight were hospitalized.
Car accidents take many forms, spanning from fender benders to fatal collisions to accidents involving motorcycle riders or pedestrians.
Anyone who spends time traveling along the I-5 corridor knows the congestion that occurs from Smokey Point, Arlington, Everett, Lynwood, Northgate, Seattle, SeaTac to Tacoma. We see numerous accidents from inattentive drivers, reckless drivers, drunk drivers, unsafe loads, and drivers who fail to signal or keep a safe distance. Therefore, if you genuinely want to know your risk, you would need to understand how often accidents occur in each category and why they happen.
Fatal Car Accidents
Fatal accidents happen more often than they should in the US. The CDC states that more than 32,000 people are killed each year in car accidents. One of the primary causes of these fatal crashes was a lack of seatbelt use. Furthermore, they found that one out of three of those fatal incidents involved drunk/intoxicated driving while another one out of three involved speeding.
Using seatbelts, never driving while intoxicated, buckling up small children, and using car seats correctly can all reduce the number of deaths. Furthermore, obeying the speed limits, avoiding distractions, and making sure your car is safe for the road can reduce your risk as well.
Accidents Involving Teen Drivers
Teens are more susceptible to crashes due to a lack of experience driving. Many teens are also found to be distracted at the time of an accident (though adults are guilty of this too).
In 2016, teens ages 16 to 19 were at the highest risk for automobile fatalities – totaling 2,433 deaths that year. Another 292,742 teens were treated in emergency rooms in 2016 from accidents. In this case, six teens ages 16 to 19 were killed each day in 2016.
Some risks factors that increase the chances of a teen accident include:
- Alcohol and/or drug use while driving
- Distracted driving
- Lack of seatbelt use
- Driving overnight
- Speeding and leaving less distance between leading vehicles
Drunk Driving Accidents
Each day in the US, the CDC says 29 people die due to an impaired driver. This equates to one death every 50 minutes. Of those deaths, 17 percent involved children ages 0 to 14 years old, and in total, impaired driving accounted for 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2016.
Therefore, the risks are indeed there. If you can, avoid driving on nights that have increased numbers of intoxicated drivers, including weekends and holidays.
Pedestrian versus Automobile Accidents
Pedestrian versus automobile accidents do frequently happen in the US, and someone is killed by a vehicle approximately every 1.6 hours.
Always exercise caution when driving through crosswalks, neighborhoods, and school zones. If you are a pedestrian, only use designated crosswalks. Never jaywalk, and never try to cross without the signal. Furthermore, make eye contact with the driver – this helps ensure they see you.
So, How Likely Is It You Will Be in a Car Accident
While the numbers seem like the odds aren’t in your favor, the reality is that most people who get their license at 16 are likely to experience at least one accident by age 34. However, the chances of these being serious or even fatal are incredibly slim.
The car insurance industry, according to Forbes, estimates that drivers will file accident claims once every 17.9 years. Therefore, you may have two to three accidents in your driving career. Again, the chances of a fatal, severe accident are quite low.
What Are My Rights If I am in an Accident?
Even though the chances are low, if you are involved in a catastrophic accident, you could suffer severe injuries. You may have broken bones, traumatic brain injury, internal organ damage, and require long-term disability.
After a severe accident like this, you need an advocate who is ready to fight for your right to compensation. Furthermore, you need someone who can handle the burden of filing paperwork, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing your case in court while you focus on recovering.
For your accident case, turn to the attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, PLLC. We understand what you and your loved ones are going through, and we would like to help.
We can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and permanent disability that stems from your accident.
Schedule a free, confidential case evaluation with our office today at (360) 714-0900 or request more information online.