A car nearly sideswipes you on the way home from work. You swerve out of the way, but you almost run into an oncoming pickup truck in a head-on crash. You slam on the brakes, swerve back into your lane and then quickly pull into the next parking lot.
With your hands shaking, you look out at the road and watch cars go by. You have never been in an accident before. You never really believed it would happen to you. After all, you follow the traffic laws. You drive under the speed limit. You are careful, intelligent and experienced. Traffic accidents always felt like someone else's problem.
The real statistics
As your near miss experience shows, anyone can get caught up in a car accident. Anyone. One mistake is all it takes, and it certainly does not need to be you who makes the mistake.
To help show exactly what role car accidents play in the United States, here are a few incredible statistics you may not have been aware of before:
- Every 14 seconds, someone gets hurt in a car accident. In the time it takes you to read the first few entries on the list, numerous people who left the house thinking they wouldn't wind up in the hospital started getting medical care.
- Men pose a far larger risk than women, causing twice as many accidents, according to some studies.
- Saturday is the most dangerous day to drive, as 19 percent of deadly accidents happen on that day alone. That's the highest percentage out of all seven week days.
- If you're between 16 years old and 20 years old, the odds are better that you will pass away in a wreck than they are for any older or younger age group. Teen drivers face the highest risks.
- Those who chat on their cellphones, even though they're not texting, see a 400 percent increase in the likelihood that they will get in an accident.
- If you are wondering what style of car is most likely to crash, it's actually a tie. Hatchbacks and sports cars see the same high accident odds.
- Typically, car accidents do not happen far from home, on unfamiliar roads, even though that type of driving does make people nervous. Most people live within three miles of the place where they're involved in a crash.
- Drivers are not happy behind the wheel. Some studies claim that the average person, while driving a car, will curse an incredible 32,000 times. This could reflect on road rage and aggressive driving, or it could simply show how many mistakes people see other drivers make.
You're doing what you can to stay safe on the road, and that's a great start, but do not assume accidents only happen to other people. Make sure you know all of your options if you get involved in a serious accident.