Accidents on the roads and highways of Texas kill or injure thousands every year. In 2014 alone, traffic crashes in the state claimed the lives of 3,534 drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Somewhere in the state, a significant traffic mishap occurs every 66 seconds, one resulting in an injury every 133 seconds and a fatal accident every 149 minutes. In Texas, the three leading causes of traffic accidents have something in common. They are all are easily avoidable.

The Dangers of Speeding

Speeding is the primary cause of vehicle wrecks in Texas and elsewhere in the country. According to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation, excessive speed contributed to some 125,000 accidents in 2014, crashes that resulted in more than 10,000 deaths or serious injuries. Speeding not only shortens the reaction time of the driver but the response time of the vehicle. It also increases braking distances and can affect the ability of the driver to maintain control, particularly in bad weather.

Distracted Driving

Driver inattention ranks as the second leading cause of traffic accidents in Texas. Official figures show that more than 80,000 wrecks in 2014 resulted from so-called distracted driving. Drivers can experience many distractions when behind the wheel, including unruly children or pets. Some distractions are self-induced, such as eating and conversing with passengers. However, the major driving distraction today involves the use of cell phones or similar personal devices. Distracted drivers can run stop signs or lights, lose sight of their position in traffic or fail to react to the mistake of another distracted driver. Only a few seconds of distraction behind the wheel can produce years of suffering.

Staying in Lane

The third most common cause of traffic accidents in Texas is lane deviation. Differing somewhat from the issue of improper lane changing, the failure of a driver to stay in the correct lane can have similar consequences, especially in the presence of heavy traffic. Lane deviation accounted for nearly 33,000 accidents in Texas in 2014. Such deviations can be serious when they involve vehicles traveling the same direction and catastrophic if it leads to the passage into opposing traffic. Head-on collisions in Texas claimed nearly 600 lives in 2014.

Driving Safely

Most accidents result from errors by the drivers involved or from a combination of factors, such as speeding while intoxicated. This is why motorists should abide by the speed limit and always pay attention to their driving. Children and pets should be properly secured and, in the event of a commotion, the driver should stop and deal with the problem. They should never do anything that distracts them from their driving, whether it be talking or texting, and most of all never drink and drive!