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Common driving behaviors that lead to accidents

Every year, car accidents take tens of thousands of lives in the United States. Most of these accidents happen because someone made a mistake. Human error gets cited constantly, and it really sheds light on the dangers you face every day. You can only control whether or not you avoid these mistakes, not what the drivers around you do.

That said, you can watch for dangerous driver behaviors that may lead to an accident. When you see them, you can practice defensive driving and get as far from those drivers as possible. This can, in some cases, keep you out of an impending wreck. So, what are some of the most common behaviors that lead to accidents?

1. Speeding

Speed causes accidents because it reduces reaction times. A speeding driver may lose control of their car, fail to stop for a traffic signal or make all sorts of other mistakes that they can't fix in time because they're going too fast. Speed often feels safe enough until the unexpected happens and then an accident is unavoidable.

2. Following too close

If you've driven during rush hour, you've definitely seen this: constant tailgating. People do it because they're in a hurry, because they're aggressive and just because they're ignorant of how much space they should leave. Two to three seconds is best, but many people only leave one or less.

3. Distracted driving and drunk driving

Let's lump these together because they're both common and, despite having different causes, they also share a lot of factors. In both cases, drivers do not pay enough attention to the road, they do not have full control over their vehicles, and they make many mistakes they would never make otherwise. Drivers who let anything keep them from focusing on driving put everyone in danger.

4. Aggressive driving

There are two types of aggressive driving, and they sometimes go together. In the first, someone is just rushing and pushing the limits. They tailgate, they speed, they pass when there's not enough room, they weave between the lanes without a turn signal -- you get the idea. They drive unsafely.

The second type is when someone is angry or driving aggressively on purpose, perhaps bordering on road rage. Maybe they think you cut them off. Maybe they just want you to go faster than you're comfortable going. This type of aggressive behavior can be especially dangerous because people sometimes cause accidents intentionally.

What to do after a crash

Have you been involved in an accident that someone else caused in one of the ways noted above? For these reasons and many more, accidents happen daily. If you get injured, be sure you understand your rights to compensation.

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